Crocodylus

Morelet’s crocodile

Morelet’s crocodile, Crocodylus moreletii

This is the smallest of the four New World Crocodiles, usually reaching about ten feet. Described to science in 1850, it then “disappeared” until the 1920s, when it was determined to inhabit the Yucatan Peninsula and the Mexican Gulf Coast to the north of it. This is one of the first crocodilian species to be bred in US zoos, more than 40 years ago. Its very broad snout gives it an alligator-like appearance, but the tooth protruding from the shut lower jaw clearly identifies it as a crocodile.

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Orinoco Crocodile

Orinoco Crocodile, Crocodylus intermedius

This large species is similar to the American crocodile. The body is made up of scales (scutes) that vary in shape and strength. Orinoco crocodiles can be identified by the arrangement of dorsal (back) armor with six prominent scales on the back of the neck. Osteoderms (bony deposits within each scale) are rough in texture and are often different in color. Orinoco crocodiles have no osteoderms on their light colored belly, Another identifying feature of the Orinoco crocodile is the narrow snout which slopes upward near the tip. The nostrils are set at the end to allow breathing while mostly submerged. The tongue is wide and attached to the bottom of the mouth and does not aid in the capturing of prey. Their body color varies from gray-green, tan, to gray scattered with dark green. The legs are short and strong; the long tail is quite powerful.

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