American Crocodile

The American Crocodile has tough, scaly gray-green skin and a long snout. This long snout is one way to tell it apart from the alligator, as is the fourth tooth on the crocodile that can be seen even when the animal's mouth is closed. Adult crocodiles are between 7 and 14 feet long and about 150 pounds. Most crocodiles have a swelling or a bump in front of each eye.

Crocodiles like warm, tropical salty waters; they are very sensitive to cold weather. Many are found near Florida and the Gulf of Mexico. The American crocodile does not like to be around people or even other animals; it prefers a quiet life and will often hide in water plants or swampy areas. This reptile hunts at night, looking for fish, marine birds, crabs, and small turtles. Unfortunately, the crocodile is endangered. Human hunting for their skins and destruction of the waters where they live for building and expansion of beaches makes it harder for crocodiles to survive. There are only about 500 American crocodiles left in the wild.

In April or May, the female crocodile builds a nest near the water made of loose dirt packed in a mound almost 40 feet deep. Here she will lay between 35 to 50 eggs, burying them and protecting them until they hatch in early August. Once the eggs hatch, the female will help the young to the water, but then leaves them to care for themselves.

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