The American Crocodile (Cocodrylus Acutus) is the most widely distributed crocodile of the new world. Their habitat consists mainly of coastal habitats of salt and brackish water such as rivers, lagoons and swamps.
The American Crocodile has a high tolerance to salinity, similar to the salt water crocodile, Cocodrylus Porosus. The American Crocodile is a relatively large species, with males reaching a length of 5-6 meters. Grown females generally measure 3-3.5m in total length, but individuals of up to 4.4 meters have been reported.
Although the American Crocodile rivals the salt water crocodile (Cocodrylus Porous) and the Nile Crocodile (Cocodrylus Niloticus) in size, it is not as aggressive and does not include human beings as part of their diet as the other two species do.
Crocodiles are ancestral animals; whose origin goes back more than 200 million years. They have witnessed the rise and extinction for the dinosaurs as well as the evolution of birds and mammals. Throughout their evolutionary history they have adapted to their environment to become one of the most efficient apex predators that exist.
Crocodiles have a significant ecological, scientific, medical, economic and cultural importance. As apex predators they exercise selective predation over fish and other animals, increasing nutrient recycling and distribution. They are also considered the eco-system’s “engineers” due to the fact that they maintain and modify the structure of the bodies of water, as well as their flow.
Besides, during draughts they create water refuges that increase bio diversity and heterogeneity. It is for this reason that crocodiles are considered key species, because they play an important part in maintaining bio-diversity and equilibrium within the eco-system.