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Last updated on April 21, 2014 at 7:52 EDT

Cuban Crocodile

The Cuban Crocodile, Crocodylus rhombifer, is found only in Cuba’s Zapata Swamp and the Isle of Youth, and highly endangered, though it formerly ranged throughout the Caribbean. This croc appears to favor freshwater habitat such as swamps, marshes, and rivers.

This species has numerous interesting characteristics that set it apart from other crocodiles, such as its brighter adult colors, rougher, more pebbled scales, and long, strong legs. It is also the most terrestrial of crocodiles, and also possibly the most intelligent. A colony of these crocs at Gator Land, Florida has also exhibited what is strongly suspected as to be pack-hunting behavior.

The diet of the young Cuban Crocodile consists mainly of small fish, freshwater arthropods, and crustaceans. Adults feed on small mammals, fish, and turtles. They have blunt rear teeth, which aids in crushing the shells of their turtle prey. They also demonstrate the jumping feeding technique seen in other crocodiles. By thrusting with their powerful tail, they can leap from the water and snatch small animals from overhanging branches.

The Cuban Crocodile is an endangered species. Its restricted range and habitat make it very vulnerable. They have been hunted to near extinction. Breeding projects in the United States are being done, but with little luck due to hybridization issues.

Cuban Crocodile