Crocodile (West African Dwarf)

Osteolaemus tetraspis

IUCN Red List status: Vulnerable

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Where they live

West Africa


Freshwater in tropical rainforest, tropical grassland, estuaries, mangrove swamps


1.7 - 1.9 m long


19-32 kg


Up to 60 years


Habitat loss, bush meat trade

Did you know...

  • They are the only species of crocodile to have brown eyes, all other species have green It is the world’s smallest species of crocodile They can climb trees and can sometimes be found in the lower branches

More about crocodiles...

West African dwarf crocodiles can be found in the mangrove swamps, rainforests and slow moving rivers and streams of West Africa. During the day they bask in the sun in order to increase their body temperature. They are mostly active at night, and like to feed on small animals such as fish, insects, lizard, water birds and shrews.

West African dwarf crocodiles can lay up to ten eggs at a time. Females will lay their eggs in mounds of soil and vegetation. The female will then guard the eggs until they hatch, and then continue to look after the hatchlings once in the water.

West African dwarf crocodiles, like all crocodiles, have special glands in their tongues that can get rid of excess salt which allows them to live in the saltwater mangrove swamps. They have see-through eyelids to protect their eyes in the water without blocking their vision, and a special valve in their throats to keep them from swallowing water whilst swimming.

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