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The Zoo has two Nile crocodiles, one male and one female. Both were hatched in the wild in Africa. They arrived at the Zoo on July 25, 2003.
The Zoo's Nile crocodiles can easily be seen basking on land or enjoying the pool in their exhibit.
Reptile and Amphibian House
The largest of the four species of crocodilians in Africa is usually dark green in color. The eyes and nostrils are located on top of the head allowing the animal to detect prey on land as it comes close to the water’s edge. This species of crocodilian is widespread throughout tropical and southern Africa and is known as a man killer in parts of its range.
The Nile crocodile spends the majority of its time in the water hunting or waiting at the shoreline to ambush prey that come to drink. They can also be seen on land basking in large groups. Crocodiles are “ectothermic”, meaning that they rely on their environment to main proper body temperatures.
The nesting season is usually November or December. The female will dig a hole in a river bank or sandy river bed. She will deposit between 25-80 eggs. The female will guard the eggs from predators during the 3 month incubation period. The sex of the hatchlings is determined by the temperatures in the nest.
The average size range of adults is 12- 16 feet.
Weights over 500 lbs. are not uncommon.
Nile crocodiles are carnivorous. In the wild, adult Nile crocodiles will eat anything they can catch. The crocodile will lie in wait at watering holes and attack prey that come to drink. Large crocodiles prefer larger prey, big meals help the animals conserve energy. Hatchlings start with insects and gradually move onto larger prey as they grow. Nile crocodiles have been recorded as consuming everything from insects, amphibians and fish to land mammals as large as giraffe and cape buffalo. At the Zoo the Nile crocodiles consume two large rats or equivalent weight rabbit each week.
Rivers, freshwater marshes, and mangrove swamps in tropical and southern Africa. They are also found on Madagascar.
To learn more about the conservation efforts at the Philadelphia Zoo, click here.
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