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The Zoo has one male and one female West African dwarf crocodile on exhibit.
The male hatched on December 13, 1979 at Woodland Park Zoo in Seattle, WA. He arrived on July 9, 2002.
It is estimated the female hatched in 1974. She arrived on July 9, 2002 from the Los Angeles Zoo.
These two dwarf crocodiles were introduced to each other on October of 2003, and have laid many fertile eggs throughout their years together. The resulting offspring have moved on to zoos across the east coast.
We have an adult pair on exhibit during the summer inside the Reptile and Amphibian House.
Reptile and Amphibian House
Coloration is usually black or dark brown with yellow and black coloration on the belly. They are heavily “armored,” having bony plates in the neck, back, and tail scales.
13 years in captivity.
In the wild the dwarf crocodile is both solitary and nocturnal. At night they will hunt for fish, amphibians, crustaceans, and other terrestrial prey close to the water or on land. During the day they will retreat to self constructed burrows or hide amongst tree roots.
After breeding, the female will construct a nest of vegetation in which to lay her eggs. Once the eggs are laid (usually 10-20) she will guard the nest from predators. After about 100 days the eggs will begin to hatch. The female will also protect the hatchlings as they make their way from the nest to the water.
Adults reach lengths up to 6.5 feet.
Adults can weigh between 30-50 lbs.
West African dwarf crocodiles are carnivorous. In the wild, this solitary preditor hunts mainly at night, the corcodiles prey mostly on vertebrates but will also eat crustaceans and scavange for carrion. The diet of the crocodile is seasonal, during the wet season they feed primarily on fish while in the dry season their diet includes a wide variety of vertebrates, crustaceans and carrion. At the Zoo, the crocodiles are offered a variety of prey items which change weekly. The primary items used in their diets are fish, rats and chicken.
Ponds, swamps, and slow-moving streams in the rain forests of tropical Africa as well as savannah terrain.
On the 2011 IUCN Red List of Threatened Species, the West African dwarf crocodile is listed as Vulnerable.
To learn more about the conservation efforts at the Philadelphia Zoo, click here.
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