Marine Wildlife Encyclopedia
American Crocodile Crocodylus acutus
Of the four species of crocodile found in the Americas, this is the only one that—as an adult—is equally at home in both fresh water and the sea. When full-grown, the American crocodile is olive brown, with a narrow-tipped snout, broad back, and a powerful, tapering tail. Its bony deposits (osteoderms) are smaller than those of other crocodiles. When young, American crocodiles feed on fish and small land animals, but adults often eat turtles, cracking them open in their jaws. Females bury their eggs in sand, laying about 40 every time they breed. Like all crocodiles, this species has been affected by being hunted for its skin, and by coastal development. Its stronghold is in Central America, but a few hundred American crocodiles live in Florida, at the north of its range.