Mugger crocodile facts
The Mugger crocodile (Crocodylus palustris) is found in the Indian subcontinent and in surrounding countries, Iran in the west and Sri Lanka in the east, and also Nepal and Pakistan. This is the only crocodile species found in Pakistan and Iran. It is the most common of the 3 crocodile species present in India, the others are the Gharial and the Saltwater crocodile.
They inhabit freshwater lakes, marshes and rivers, preferably slow-moving and shallower ones. It can on occasion be found in saltwater lagoons. They are also found in man-made structures like reservoirs and irrigation canals in India and Sri Lanka.
The Mugger crocodile is considered are a medium to large crocodilian, and an adult male may reach up to 4,5 meters (18 ft) in length and weight 450 kg (1000 lbs). They have a distinctive aspect, and are the most alligator like of all crocodile species. Juveniles color is generally light tan in with some black cross-banding on the body and tail, adult specimens are generally gray to brown. This crocodile is capable of attacking humans but there are few crocodile attacks, it is not considered as dangerous as the Saltwater crocodile species (Crocodylus porosus).
This species is known to dig burrows for shelter, they can also cover distances of several miles over land to look for a suitable habitat. Mugger crocodiles are a highly social species, and use a wide variety of vocalizations to communicate. They also socialize with other crocodilian species in their range, especially the Gharial or Indian Gharial (Gavialis gangeticus).
This crocodile species is also known by other names like Marsh Crocodile, Muggar Crocodile or Broad-snouted Crocodile. The species name, Mugger crocodile is a corruption of the Hindi/Urdu word "magar" which means "water monster".
Mugger crocodile - Diet
The juveniles will eat mostly crustaceans, insects and smaller fish. Adults eat larger fish, amphibians, reptiles (snakes and possibly turtles), birds and mammals like monkeys. Larger specimens have been known to take deer and buffalo occasionally. They are also known for stealing fish from nets.
Mugger crocodile - Reproduction
Males in this species mature around 10 years old (2.6m) and females usually around 6 years old (1.7 to 2.0 m). The nests are built during the dry season from December to February, and on most occasions are holes excavated on sloping banks (sometimes burrows are used). The female usually lays from 10 up to 48 eggs.
The incubation period relatively short of about 55 to 75 days, and the hatchlings on birth measure around 30cm (1 ft). The female will usually guard the nest and open it to transports young to the water inside her mouth.
Mugger crocodile - Conservation status and major threats
The main threats to the Mugger crocodile come from habitat destruction and the illegal hunting for the skin trade and alternative medicine market. Egg collection is also a problem, they are also notorious fish stealer's, feeding on ensnared fish, and sometimes become themselves ensnared in fish nets and drown.
This species as an estimated wild population of less than 10,000 individuals, the species is listed as Vulnerable on the IUCN Red List.
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