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Kidadl Team

AUGUST 05, 2021

Did You Know? Amazing Facts About The Orinoco Crocodile

Amazing Orinoco crocodile facts for kids.

The Orinoco crocodile is a large crocodilian species found in the Orinoco River Basin. They are one of the largest crocodile species with an average length of about 13-16 ft (4-5 m). These crocodiles have been around longer than the dinosaurs! Orinoco crocodiles were around more than 200 million years ago. They lay eggs and the young crocodiles are called hatchlings. The Orinoco crocodile wild population is very low due to rampant hunting in the 20th century. There are about 250 to 1500 of them left in the wild and so documenting their behavior is very hard. The Orinoco crocodile habitat is water where they can easily hunt for fish, particularly in freshwater basins in Venezuela and Colombia. The conservation status of these reptiles is Critically Endangered in the IUCN Red list.

Please read this article to learn more about this amazing crocodile. If you want to read more amazing animal facts, please check out our articles on crocodiles and slender-snouted crocodiles.

Orinoco Crocodile Interesting Facts

What type of animal is an Orinoco crocodile?

The Orinoco crocodile (Crocodylus intermedius) is a type of crocodile found in the Orinoco River Basin.

What class of animal does an Orinoco crocodile belong to?

The Orinoco crocodile (Crocodylus intermedius) belongs to the Reptilia class, the family Crocodylidae of the Animalia kingdom.

How many Orinoco crocodiles are there in the world?

There are about 250 to 1500 Orinoco crocodiles left in the wild. Almost all of them can be found in Venezuela. The Orinoco crocodile population is listed as Critically Endangered in the IUCN Red list.

Where does an Orinoco crocodile live?

Orinoco crocodiles are exclusively found in the Orinoco River Basin in South America. They are mostly found in the countries, Venezuela and Colombia.  

What is an Orinoco crocodile's habitat?

The Orinoco crocodile is exclusively found in the Orinoco River Basin in South America, mainly in countries of Colombia and Venezuela. They have occasionally been seen on the island of Trinidad, but this has not been confirmed. They are now only found in the Llanos savanna and the freshwater rivers that are found around this area. These reptiles are very poorly documented in the wild, and not much data about their habitat is available. In the dry season, these crocodiles travel in a group to find a suitable freshwater habitat.

Who do Orinoco crocodiles live with?

Not much research data is available on the habits of a Orinoco crocodile, mostly because they are very small in numbers and critically endangered in the wild. However, Orinoco crocodiles are social animals that have a dominant hierarchy in their groups. It has been observed that in the dry season, these crocodiles all travel in groups to find suitable freshwater habitats. The absence of data is caused by their low population.

How long does an Orinoco crocodile live?

If they can avoid being hunted, the average Orinoco crocodile lifespan is about 70 to 80 years. However due to hunting, their population is critically endangered in the wild.

How do they reproduce?

Orinoco crocodile reproduction takes place through mating. The mating occurs in the dry season and the breeding process begins in the dry seasons of January and February. Males attract females via bellowing. It has been observed that females are more attracted to males with a deeper bellowing. The reproduction process begins after females choose the male. A male Orinoco crocodile can have more than one partner in a season. Females of this species lay about 40 to 60 eggs after about 14 weeks of mating. They dig a hole to lay their eggs in.

The gender of the hatchlings depends on how much heat the eggs receive while they are buried. Since the eggs are buried at different depths, one litter can have both male and female hatchlings. It has been observed that these crocodiles breed more females than males. When the eggs hatch, which usually occurs during the night, the young hatchlings call for their mother who carries them to safety in the water. However, most of the eggs and hatchlings fall prey to other predators that can be found in the same habitat. Orinoco crocodiles reach sexual maturity when they are about 6ft (1.8 m) long. They are one of the species whose sexual maturity depends on their length rather than their age.

What is their conservation status?

Orinoco crocodiles are listed as Critically Endangered in the IUCN Red List. There are about 250 to 1500 adult Orinoco crocodiles in the wild now. Their population has decreased to a worrying number because of the impacts of habitat destruction and hunting.

Orinoco Crocodile Fun Facts

What do Orinoco crocodiles look like?

The Orinoco crocodile is a large species of crocodile found in the Orinoco River Basin of South America. The size of an adult Orinoco crocodile range from about 13-16 ft (4-5 m). A giant Orinoco crocodile is probably the largest crocodilian species in America. These crocodiles have a pale tan hide, but they can also have a darker grayish or yellowish hide. They have a longer snout than a similar species called the American crocodile. Their color can change over long periods of time. Young crocodiles, or hatchlings, have a darker color and bands on their backs.

The biggest Orinoco crocodile ever measured had a length of 22 ft (7m). This specimen was seen in the 19th century, and there is no proof to verify the truth in this information. After being extensively hunted for their skin and meat, these crocodiles have come to the verge of extinction in the wild. They have a large dorsal armor with six very prominent scales at the back of their necks. Their scales are rough and scattered. Their snout is narrow and turns upward near the tip. Female crocodiles of this species are smaller than male crocodiles in both length and weight. They are a species of apex predators and can be dangerous.

Orinoco crocodiles are an amazing species of reptiles.

How cute are they?

Very few people will consider a vicious crocodile species to be cute. It is only natural that people are scared of this big species as it is very dangerous. The Orinoco crocodile, unlike some small reptiles, cannot be considered cute. They are vicious animals that most people are afraid of.

How do they communicate?

Like many other crocodile species, the Orinoco crocodile communicates via a sound that is called bellowing. Males usually have a lower pitch than females while bellowing.  They also thrash their tails and slap their heads to communicate. An Orinoco crocodile baby communicates via barking.

How big is an Orinoco crocodile?

The average length of an adult Orinoco crocodile is about 13-16 ft (4-5 m). Males of this species are usually larger than females. The largest Orinoco crocodile ever seen was about 22 ft (7m). They are bigger than the American crocodile.

How fast can an Orinoco crocodile swim?

Not much data can be found about wild Orinoco crocodiles and so, we cannot conclude their speed. They are amazing predators that can move pretty fast both in water and on land.

How much does an Orinoco crocodile weigh?

The average Orinoco crocodile weight is about 440-840 lb (200-380 kg). Males of this species are substantially larger and weigh more than females.

What are their male and female names of the species?

There is no distinctive name for a male and female of this species. Like all other crocodiles and alligators, a male Orinoco crocodile is called a bull, while a female is called a cow.

What would you call a baby Orinoco crocodile?

Like all other crocodile species, a young Orinoco crocodile is called a hatchling.

What do they eat?

Even though not much study has been done on the dietary habits of Orinoco crocodiles, it can be safely said that an Orinoco crocodile appetite mainly consists of large fish from rivers. The way that these crocodiles are built makes it easy for them to capture aquatic prey like fish without much restraint from the water. The Orinoco crocodile diet also includes small mammals, birds, and other smaller reptiles. They are species of apex predators and any animal that is smaller and weaker than them can become a food source. After all, these animals might be small in number but they are even bigger than American crocodiles.

The Orinoco crocodile is a carnivorous animal that is also an apex predator. They also have a very keen sense of smell that helps them to identify their prey from a long distance and even at night, making them a highly dangerous reptile species.  

Are they dangerous?

Even though they can pose a threat to human beings, Orinoco crocodiles are more or less harmless to humans. They are so small in numbers that they rarely harm humans. The last recorded attack on a human by an Orinoco crocodile was in the first half of the 20th century. Potentially, we may pose a greater threat to these animals due to deforestation, habitat loss and hunting.  However, there is no doubt that the Orinoco crocodile size and Orinoco crocodile bite force can be dangerous.

Would they make a good pet?

No, mostly because any type of crocodile is a bad idea as a pet. Crocodiles are very aggressive reptiles that cannot be tamed under normal circumstances. They can be held captive in larger places like zoos. The Orinoco crocodile is very rare and found only in the river basin of the Orinoco. Their few numbers mean that they are protected and so it is illegal to keep these crocodiles as pets.

Did you know...

Like other crocodiles, Orinoco crocodiles look as if they are crying when they catch prey. This is because they gulp a large amount of air which gets into their glands and generate tears.

Orinoco crocodiles are one of the largest species of crocodiles in America, but they're not the biggest in the world. The largest crocodile species in the world is the saltwater crocodile.

If Orinoco crocodiles become extinct, this will have a knock-on effect throughout the food web because they are apex predators which means they are at the top of the food chain.

How many teeth do Orinoco crocodiles have?

One of the Orinoco crocodile adaptations is that they have 68 teeth. These teeth are situated mostly in the sides of both the top and bottom jaws of the animal. These teeth remain visible even when their mouths are closed.

How good is an Orinoco crocodile's sense of smell?

Like all other crocodile species, the Orinoco crocodile also has a highly developed, keen sense of smell. They know when their eggs are going to hatch through smell. They can also identify their prey through smell over a large distance. This sense of smell makes them amazing nocturnal creatures.

Here at Kidadl, we have carefully created lots of interesting family-friendly animal facts for everyone to discover! Learn more about some other reptiles including dwarf crocodile, or saltwater crocodile.

You can even occupy yourself at home by drawing one on our orinoco crocodile coloring pages.

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