Fun American Crocodile Facts For Kids

Martha Martins
Feb 07, 2023 By Martha Martins
Originally Published on Aug 27, 2021
Edited by Jacob Fitzbright
Interesting American crocodile facts include that they are solitary animals and like to live alone.
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Age: 3-18
Read time: 7.6 Min

The American crocodile (scientific name Crocodylus acutus) is a crocodilian species commonly found in South America. Their scientific name, Crocodylus acutus, means 'pointy-snouted crocodile'; they get this name because of the large and thin shape of its snout.

The American crocodile is a very close relative of the American alligator but is easily distinguishable given its comparatively lighter color and larger and thinner snout.

American crocodiles like a warm body temperature; that is why they can be seen basking in the sun. They also prefer a habitat like coastal areas.

Since the 1930s, crocodiles have been hunted and killed for their skin, which resulted in the decline of their population, making them an Endangered species.

Thankfully, they are now protected under the law, and it is illegal to hunt or kill them for any purpose. Even though they are now protected under the laws, they still fear threats due to habitat loss by human activities and climate change.

For more relatable content, check out these northern snakehead facts and kukri snake facts for kids.

American Crocodile Interesting Facts

What type of animal is an American crocodile?

The American crocodile, Crocodylus acutus, is one of the crocodilian species found in South America.

What class of animal does an American crocodile belong to?

The American crocodile belongs to the class Reptilia.

How many  American crocodiles are there in the world?

The American crocodiles' population range has been calculated to be around 1,000 in Florida. This number does not include the number of their hatchlings.

These crocodiles have faced the main population threat because of humans hunting them for their skins since 1930. In today's world, they are not hunted due to their protected status. However, American crocodiles still face the threat of being Endangered due to habitat loss and an increasing human population.

Where does an American crocodile live?

The American crocodiles can be found in Central America and South America, mostly in south Florida and coastal areas of southern Mexico. This crocodile species is the most widespread species in America out of the four extant crocodile species.

What is an American crocodile's habitat?

The American crocodile habitat consists mostly of coastal areas. The American crocodile can also be found in brackish lakes, mangrove swamps, lagoons, cays, and small islands.

Who do  American crocodiles live with?

According to the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, American crocodiles are shy and solitary animals that prefer to be alone in their wild habitat away from any disturbances. Social interactions, if they ever happen, occur during the time of the dawn after their body temperature has been warmed enough.

They warm up their body temperature by basking in the sun.

During the dry season, American crocodiles are also known to become lethargic and bury themselves in mud. They can become so lethargic that they might even neglect to eat.

How long does an American crocodile live?

The American crocodile lifespan has been known to be around 60-70 years.

How do they reproduce?

The American crocodiles are known to reproduce by laying eggs. The American crocodiles reach their sexual maturity at the age of 8-10 years.

The mating season for the crocodiles happens to be around January and February, and the gestation period lasts for two to three months. In April or May, the female crocodiles build a nest out of loose dirt by the edge of the water and lay their eggs in that nest.

Their clutch size consists of 35-50 eggs. The eggs are buried in the nest, and the female crocodiles guard their nests very fiercely.

The eggs then hatch in July or August, and the female crocodiles carry their young ones to the water. But unlike the alligator, they do not take care of their young.

What is their conservation status?

The conservation status by the Endangered Species Act has been declared as Threatened for the crocodiles in the US and as Endangered for everywhere except the US. On the other hand, the IUCN Red List of Threatened species has declared their status as Vulnerable.

All the sources suggesting that their population range is facing potential risks.

This is mostly due to their loss of habitat due to human development and climate change, as the changing sea levels can cause a significant portion of freshwater habitats to become inundated with saltwater. Humans are also known to kill them because of the threats faced by crocodiles and alligators.

American Crocodile Fun Facts

What do  American crocodiles look like?

American Crocodile

American crocodiles, like all other crocodiles, are quadruped with four short and stocky legs and a long and powerful tail. Their body has a scaly hide with rows of ossified scutes running down through the whole backside of their body.

They also have an elongated snout and a strong upper and lower jaw. You can even see their sharp teeth when their mouth is closed.

Their snout is comparatively longer than the American alligator.

The American crocodile has their nostrils, eyes, and ears situated at the top of its head, and this helps them to conceal the rest of its body in water whenever they want to make a surprise attack. Their eyes also have nictitating membranes for protection along with the lacrimal glands which produce teras.

The American crocodile is grayish-green in color, which also helps them to camouflage well to prey on food. They, however, are paler as compared to the dark-hued American alligator.

How cute are they?

American crocodiles are not cute animals at all. They are extremely aggressive predators and have a similar look too.

How do they communicate?

American crocodiles are known to communicate through vocalizations. They roar as an act to defend their territory and, at other times to attract their potential mates.

Territorial communication has also been observed in the animal which they display by slapping the water with their head and tail. American crocodiles also use infrasonic sound by creating ripples on the surface of the water as another mode of communication.

This infrasonic mode of communication is most used during the mating season and to court with mates.

Besides this, when they are angry, they would also thrash their tails as a visual cue. There have also been some observations regarding the chemosensory cues as a mode of communication, but those observations have not been properly documented.

How big is an American crocodile?

The American crocodile size for males can range as long as 10-13 ft (3-4 m), while for the females, it can range as long as 8-10 ft (2.4-3 m). The American crocodile is two to three times the size of the dwarf crocodile of the same family.

How fast can an American crocodile move?

The crocodiles are known for crawling on their bellies, although they can also 'high walk'. Larger crocodiles can walk as fast as 10 mph (16 kph).

And they can swim at a speed of 20 mph (32.2 kph) by moving their body and tail in a twisting fashion; however, it is hard for them to keep up with this speed.

How much does an American crocodile weigh?

The weight of a male American crocodile can be around 842.2 lb (382 kg), and for the female crocodile, it can be around 381.4 lb (173 kg). This weight is slightly more than the weight of a slender-snouted crocodile of the same family.

What are the male and female names of the species?

The male crocodile is called a bull, whereas the female crocodile is called a cow.

What would you call a baby  American crocodile?

A baby American crocodile is called a hatchling.

What do they eat?

The American crocodile diet mostly consists of carnivorous food resources. The American crocodile can feed on fish, various birds, mammals, turtles, crabs, snails, frogs, carrion, and even bigger animals like deer.

The crocodile can successfully eat big animals by grabbing them by the jaws and pulling them underwater.

The large animals die by drowning, after which the crocodile grabs their piece of meat in their jaws and then spins around in a 'death toll'. The American crocodile is capable of taking prey of a wide variety of sizes, from a small insect to a large human adult.

Are they poisonous?

The bite of American crocodiles is not poisonous at all. But they can be very dangerous. The American crocodile has been known to attack humans in Mexico, Costa Rica, and Panama.

Would they make a good pet?

Because of their aggressive behavior and carnivorous nature, they can not make good pets.

Did you know...

Crocodiles have salt glands beneath their tongue; hence they have tolerance towards saltwater. However, the American crocodile is the only crocodile species besides saltwater crocodile that can live in saltwater.

The American crocodile is found on beaches and small islands with saltwater sources, like cays, islets across the Bahamas and the Caribbean. They are also found in hypersaline lakes; one such population found is in Lago Enriquillo, one of the largest saltwater habitats for the American crocodile.

Are American crocodiles aggressive?

The American crocodile behavior is very aggressive in nature and is known to get more aggressive when disturbed. They have also been known to be aggressive towards humans and can attack them as well.

Are American crocodiles more dangerous than alligators?

It is very easy to distinguish the American crocodile from its cousin, the American alligator, by their longer and thinner snout and lighter color, also through the two long teeth on their lower jaw, which can be seen when their mouth is closed.

When it comes to American crocodile vs. American alligator, the American crocodile is more aggressive, especially towards humans, as compared to the alligator.

Here at Kidadl, we have carefully created lots of interesting family-friendly animal facts for everyone to discover! Learn more about some other reptiles from our Burmese python interesting facts and Siamese crocodile surprising facts pages.

You can even occupy yourself at home by coloring in one of our free printable American crocodile coloring pages.

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Written by Martha Martins

Bachelor of Arts specializing in Linguistics

Martha Martins picture

Martha MartinsBachelor of Arts specializing in Linguistics

Martha is a full-time creative writer, content strategist, and aspiring screenwriter who communicates complex thoughts and ideas effectively. She has completed her Bachelor's in Linguistics from Nasarawa State University. As an enthusiast of public relations and communication, Martha is well-prepared to substantially impact your organization as your next content writer and strategist. Her dedication to her craft and commitment to delivering high-quality work enables her to create compelling content that resonates with audiences.

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