American Crocodile (Crocodylus acutus) - Wiki
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[Photo] Phylum : Chordata - Class : Reptilia - Order : Crocodilia - Species : Crocodylus acutus Crocodylus acutus, american crocodile, cocodrilo americano, crocodile d´Am??rique, cocodrilo de rio, lagarto amarillo, american saltwater crocodile. This photograph was taken at La Manzanilla, Jalisco State in Mexico, on the Pacific Coast. Author: Tom??s Castelazo.
The American Crocodile (Crocodylus acutus) is one of the 4 species of New World crocodile and the most wide-spread in range. It occurs from the Atlantic and Pacific coasts of southern Mexico through Central America and in South America as far as Peru and Venezuela. It also breeds on Cuba, Jamaica, and Hispaniola, and there is a remnant population in Florida, United States.
The habitat of the American crocodile consists largely of freshwater or brackish water coastal habitats, and mangrove swamps. The American crocodile is a relatively large species, with males having maximum lengths of 5 to 6m.
Like all crocodiles it is a quadruped, with four short, splayed legs; a long, powerful tail; a scaly hide with rows of ossified scutes running down its back and tail; and mighty jaws. It has nictitating membranes to protect its eyes, and, despite the myths, it does have lachyrmal glands, and can cleanse its eyes with tears.
The nostrils, eyes, and ears are situated on the top of its head, so the rest of the body can remain concealed underwater. The coloration also helps them hide.
American Crocodiles normally crawl along on their belly, but they can also "high walk". Smaller specimens can gallop, and even larger crocodiles are capable of surprising bursts of speed. They can swim equally fast by moving their body and tail in a sinuous fashion, but they can sustain this form of movement much longer.
They have a four-chambered heart, like a bird, which is especially efficient at oxygenating their blood. They normally dive for only a couple of minutes, but will stay underwater for up to 30 minutes if threatened, and if they remain inactive they can hold their breath for up to 2 hours. They have an ectothermic metabolism, so they can survive a long time between meals ??? though when they do eat, they can eat up to half their body weight at a time.
Due to hide hunting, pollution, loss of mangrove habitat, and removal of adults for commercial farming, the American Crocodile is endangered in parts of its range.
The american crocodile has an estimated wild population of 500 to 1200 in Florida, and 10,000 to 20,000 worldwide individuals.
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