There are no other reptiles as famous as crocodiles in the world. Most are dangerous like the Nile crocodiles present in Africa. But their numbers especially that of the American crocodiles have been dwindling.
Although their precise estimate is not available in America, conservationists agree that their number has drastically decreased due to human presence and activities. Let us look in more detail at the presence of crocodiles in America and their physical and behavioral features.
Are There Crocodiles in America?
Yes, there are crocodiles in America. Specifically, the American crocodile which is the most abundant crocodile species out of the 4 extant ones are widespread in America which includes Caribbean and Mexico too.
But when we talk about U.S.A particularly, only southern Florida inhabits these creatures. So, in terms of the country, these creatures are rare as compared to their cousins, the American alligators.
How Many Crocodiles In America?
In U.S.A, there are only about 2000 American crocodiles as per the Florida Wildlife Commission and most are found in and around the coasts, freshwater sources of southern Florida. It is important to note that these are wild crocodiles and crocodiles in captivity are definitely found in other states as well.
But when we talk about America which includes other countries like Mexico, these creatures are quite abundant in number and can be easily spotted. It is quite worthwhile to note that American alligators and crocodiles share the freshwater sources in Florida freshwater sources unlike in other countries of South and central America. In fact, Florida is the only place in the world to have both alligators and crocodiles living with each other in wild.
Where Do You Find Crocodiles In America?
The only crocodile species found in America are the American crocodile also scientifically names as Crocodylus acutus. In terms of range, they are widespread from south Florida making it their north most range and ending it in Peru and Venezuela which comprises of the southern most range in the world.
These creatures prefer freshwater lakes, swamps, and can even survive in saltwater sources due their unique salt gland present under their necks. And unlike alligators and other crocodile species, only the American crocodile is able to not only live but also thrive in saline water.
If you want to see Crocodile in America you can visit the Everglade National Forests in southern Florida, Lago Enriquillo Lake in Caribbean, and Costa Rica where they are plenty in numbers.
How Did Crocodiles Get To America?
It was not until 2020 that these creature’s evolution was well understood. Firstly, American crocodiles have been present in America since the pre-historic era about few millions of years ago. But before that?
It is now believed that these creatures have originated from Africa which is similar to the evolution of many other species including us humans. All this is thanks to the discovery of Miocene species Crocodylus checchiai that has provided a link between the American crocodile and the African ones.
As per the finding and phylogenetic evidence, Crocodiles likely originated in Africa and migrated to Asia and then Americas.
Are Crocodiles Rare In America?
Crocodiles are rare or abundant in America based on the place you are in. Like for instance, crocodiles are quite abundant in Costa Rica but rare in Mexico. Although, their population numbers are still not surveyed or recorded, their estimates are still uncertain.
But we are sure that their number is quite low in North America, particularly in U.S.A as these creatures were listed as endangered species in 1975. Although once found in abundance, these creatures succumbed to extensive hunting for their skin, habitat loss and human disturbances.
About the Largest Crocodile In America?
American crocodiles are in general quite large. Reaching even 16 feet the largest ones have been recorded in wild. In captivity, the largest ever recorded American Crocodile was an individual named “Papillon” that measured 14ft in length and weighed about 1100 pounds. And it lived to about 80 years before it died. Yes, crocodiles tend to live till 35 to 50 years in wild and more in captivity.
American crocodiles have an average length of about 9 to 12 feet and weigh anywhere between 200 to 600 pounds. And like most wild creatures, the male adults are quite larger than the female ones, about 30% more in fact.
Although exceptionally large crocodiles may be found, these are presently unverified and could even possibly be dubious. The largest American crocodile specimen was recorded in Costa Rica measuring 13 feet in length and weighing 1100 pounds.
Can You Get Crocodiles In America?
No, It is illegal to own and possess crocodiles in U.S.A, central and south American countries. Also, these creatures cannot be kept as your everyday pets. They are wild, dangerous and a threat to humans and even other domestic animals including pets and cattle.
The only exception to this is the scenario where these creatures are required for educational, research or rehabilitation purposes. But even under those circumstances, it is important that the parties obtain relevant permits and licenses from respective state/countries wildlife agencies.
Are American Crocodiles Dangerous To Humans?
Oh yes, In fact, American crocodiles are one of the most dangerous species in found in America. The only saving grace is that these are not as abundant as other large creatures like Nile crocodiles which are responsible for hundreds of human deaths each year. In fact, most American crocodiles are present in remote locations away from human interference and disturbances in wild.
It is their large body size and strong and sharp teeth that make them dangerous. So, whether you are viewing a captive crocodile or one in the wild, make sure to maintain your distance and follow local regulations to keep yourself and others safe.
Also Check Our Guide On
- Crocodiles In Florida
- Crocodiles In Maine
- Crocodiles In Mexico
- Crocodiles In Nile River
- Crocodiles In Australia
And that was everything you need to know about the Crocodile in America. I hope this article answered all your queries.
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Founder Of This Website
I’m a passionate animal lover and researcher, I’ve created this website so that people can learn about the size and characteristics of different animal species. My goal is to educate and inspire people to appreciate the diversity of our planet’s wildlife.