The American Crocodile is the most widespread of the four species of crocodiles from the Americas. They can live up to 70 years and the larger adult males average about 13 feet in length and weigh approximately 180 kg. However, some males can reach lengths of 20 feet and a weigh up to 907 kg. Its primary habitat consists of river mouths, salt lakes, brackish rivers, estuaries and even the ocean. Their diet consists mostly of small mammals, birds, fish, crabs, snails, frogs and occasionally the carrion crow.

American Crocodile, Tarcoles

Adults have a uniform grayish-green colouration with white or yellow undersides, while young have dark cross-banding on the tail and back. With relatively short legs they generally crawl slowly along on their bellies, but they are still capable of moving at a surprisingly fast pace when necessary. With its’ eyes, ears and nostrils located on the top of its head the crocodile has a low profile which allows it to swim rapidly in short bursts when in water.

Generally American crocodiles are considered to be much less aggressive than the Nile crocodile, However, when confronted or threatened they can become aggressive. Despite this attacks on humans are rare. A popular spot for seeing the American Crocodile in Costa Rica is the Tarcoles River, where there are daily excursions to visit them lazing on the river banks. One of the highlights of the trip will be watching your guide getting ‘up close and personal’ with the crocodiles in order to put on a dramatic feeding display!

Will Rist

Sunvil Traveller