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American Crocodile

Crocodylus acutus

Status: Native; Threatened

The Florida population of the American crocodile is a conservation success story. Listed as an endangered species in 1975, crocodile numbers have since recovered from a few hundred individuals to as many as 2,000 adult crocodiles today. The Florida population of this native species is now classified as threatened by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. American crocodiles are a shy and reclusive species. Like alligators, crocodiles rely on external sources of heat to regulate their body temperature. Crocodiles control their body temperature by basking in the sun or moving to areas with warmer or cooler air or water temperatures. A basking crocodile may be surprised by an approaching person and quickly (and noisily) enter the water. This behavior might startle the person, but it should not be misunderstood. Crocodiles would normally enter the water quietly; splashing away indicates that the crocodile is frightened. Crocodiles can also be seen sunning with their mouths open, or "gaping." This behavior is also related to regulating their body temperature and does not mean that the crocodile is acting aggressively.

Facts About Crocodiles

Habitat Range

American crocodiles occur in South Florida and also can be found in Hispaniola, Cuba, Jamaica, along the Caribbean coast from southern Mexico to Venezuela, and along the Pacific coast from Mexico to Peru. The northern end of the crocodile’s range is in South Florida. Occasionally, crocodiles are encountered inland in freshwater areas along the southern Florida coast.

Alligator Habitat Range

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