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mugger crocodile, freshwater crocodile, marsh crocodile

Crocodylus palustris

Description:

they hang out with open mouth to catch insects. The mugger crocodile (Crocodylus palustris) is a medium-sized broad-snouted crocodile, also known as mugger and marsh crocodile. It is native to freshwater habitats from southern Iran to the Indian subcontinent, where it inhabits marshes, lakes, rivers and artificial ponds. It rarely reaches a body length of 5 m (16 ft 5 in) and is a powerful swimmer, but also walks on land in search of suitable waterbodies during the hot season. Both young and adult mugger crocodiles dig burrows to which they retreat when the ambient temperature drops below 5 °C (41 °F) or exceeds 38 °C (100 °F). Females dig holes in the sand as nesting sites and lay up to 46 eggs during the dry season. The sex of hatchlings depends on temperature during incubation. Both parents protect the young for up to one year. They feed on insects, and adults prey on fish, reptiles, birds and mammals. The mugger crocodile evolved at least 4.19 million years ago and has been a symbol for the fructifying and the destructive powers of the rivers since the Vedic period. It was first scientifically described in 1831 and is protected by law in Iran, India and Sri Lanka. Since 1982, it has been listed as Vulnerable on the IUCN Red List. Outside protected areas, it is threatened by conversion of natural habitats, gets entangled in fishing nets and is killed in human–wildlife conflict situations and in traffic accidents. Mugger crocodile hatchlings are pale olive with black spots. Adults are dark olive to grey or brown. The head is rough without any ridges and has large scutes around the neck that is well separated from the back. Scutes usually form four, rarely six longitudinal series and 16 or 17 transverse series. The limbs have keeled scales with serrated fringes on outer edges, and outer toes are extensively webbed. The snout is slightly longer than broad with 19 upper teeth on each side. The symphysis of the lower jaw extends to the level of the fourth or fifth tooth. The premaxillary suture on the palate is nearly straight or curved forwards, and the nasal bones separate the premaxilla above. The mugger crocodile is considered a medium-sized crocodilian, but has the broadest snout among living crocodiles. It has a powerful tail and webbed feet. Its visual, hearing and smelling senses are acute. Adult female muggers are 2 to 2.5 m (6 ft 7 in to 8 ft 2 in) on average, and male muggers measure between 3 to 3.5 m (9 ft 10 in to 11 ft 6 in). They rarely grow up to 5 m (16 ft 5 in). The largest known muggers measured 5.63 m (18 ft 6 in). The largest zoological specimen in the British Museum of Natural History measures 3.7 m (12 ft 2 in). One male mugger caught in Pakistan of about 3 m (9 ft 10 in) weighed 195 kg (430 lb)

Habitat:

Udawalawe National Park. The national park was created to provide a sanctuary for wild animals displaced by the construction of the Udawalawe Reservoir on the Walawe River, as well as to protect the catchment of the reservoir. The reserve covers 30,821 hectares (119.00 sq mi) of land area and was established on 30 June 1972. Udawalawe is an important habitat for water birds and Sri Lankan elephants. Udawalawe lies on the boundary of Sri Lanka's wet and dry zones. Plains dominate the topography, though there are also some mountainous areas. The Kalthota Range and Diyawini Falls are in the north of the park and the outcrops of Bambaragala and Reminikotha lie within it. The park has an annual rainfall of 1,500 millimetres (59 in), most of which falls during the months of October to January and March to May. The average annual temperature is about 27–28 °C (81–82 °F), while relative humidity varies from 70% to 83%. Well-drained reddish-brown soil is the predominant soil type, with poorly drained low humic grey soils found in the valley bottoms. Mainly alluvial soils form the beds of water courses. The habitat surrounding at the reservoir includes marshes, the Walawe river and its tributaries, forests and grasslands. Dead trees standing in the reservoir are visual reminders of the extent of forest cover before the construction of the Udawalawe Dam. Areas of open grassland are abundant as a result of former chena farming practices.

Notes:

second photo features a white throated kingfisher

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jazz.mann
Spotted by
jazz.mann

Uva Province, Sri Lanka

Spotted on Jul 14, 2018
Submitted on Jun 4, 2021

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