Cuban crocodile (Crocodylus rhombifer), is a species, which belongs to the Crocodylinae family. These species are mainly the inhabitants of Cuba’s Zapata Swamp and the Isle of Youth. The Cuban crocodiles are in the IUCN (International Union for Conservation of Nature) red list of endangered species. It closely resembles to the American crocodiles.
The Cuban crocodile can grow up to a size of 4.9 meter. These species are slight smaller in size and has an average size of 2.4 meters. The males of these species are larger than the females. They have short and broad head and a bony ridge can be seen behind the eyes. Their eyes nostrils and ears along with the head are on the same plane. There are (6 to 8) wide scales, which are on the back of their neck, which distinguishes it from the American crocodile. Cuban crocodile posses an extra eyelid and this helps them to see underwater. They have (66 to 68) large and sharp teeth, which helps them to catch and tear their prey. In the juvenile stage, they have eyes with light iris, which becomes dark when they grow as an adult. These species have strong legs and tail, and their legs are covered with large scales. Cuban crocodile has yellow and black pattern on their body and thus they are called as “pearly” crocodile. These crocodile have a life span of about 100 years.
Habitat and Distribution
The Cuban crocodile likes to live in freshwater like rivers, swamps and marshes. They are also sometimes found swimming in the salt water. Earlier, they were found around Cayman, Cuba and Bahama Islands. But today, they are found only in Cuba and Isle of Pines. These creatures are very good swimmers but they can walk on land as well.
The young one of these species feed on crustaceans, small fish and freshwater arthropods, whereas the adult of these species feed on fish, mammals and turtles. The Cuban crocodile has strong rear legs, which helps them to jump and catch their prey. These crocodiles can catch their prey even from the branches of the trees by jumping and snatching. They hunt in water as well as on land. Their strong teeth help then to crush the prey.
Breeding / Reproduction
Much is not known to the scientists about the breeding habits of this crocodiles. It is expected that their breeding season starts in May and goes on for three to four months. They dig holes for laying their eggs. On an average, the female lays around (30 to 40) eggs. The size of the eggs is around (2 to3) inches. The eggs remain in the holes for about (58 to 70) days before hatching.
The Cuban crocodiles are in the red list of endangered species. These Cuban crocodiles have been hunted by the human being for their skin and tail meat. Their tail meat is considered as delicacy in the food category. The breeding projects are being carried out in order to increase their population in captivity.