OTHER COMMON NAMES

English: Marsh crocodile; French: Crocodile à entrance giant; German: Sumpfkrokodil; Spanish: Cocodrilo marismeño.

PHYSICAL CHARACTERISTICS

Relatively stocky reptiles, grownup males common 10 ft (three m). Adult females common 7.four ft (2.25 m), and will attain 10 ft (three m). The most measurement on report is 18 ft (5.5 m). Gray, olive, or brownish above with darkish markings that change into much less distinct because the animal will get older. The underside is white or yellowish. The dorsal scutes are outstanding and infrequently fairly irregular in association, giving the reptile an untidy look. Presence of huge postoccipital scutes differentiate this species from the sympatric (in India and Sri Lanka) saltwater crocodile.

DISTRIBUTION

Mainly India and Sri Lanka. Small populations nonetheless happen in southeastern Iran, and in elements of Pakistan, Nepal, Bhutan, and Bangladesh.

HABITAT

A really adaptable crocodile, muggers are present in clear hill streams up to 1,975 ft (600 m) above sea degree, in addition to in sewage-treatment ponds, giant rivers, lakes, swamps, and even saline habitats.

BEHAVIOR

These are social animals. Unless underneath searching stress, muggers are conspicuous, basking within the open to thermoregulate. Younger muggers are extra solitary and cryptic. Muggers can migrate overland for six mi (10 km) or extra to discover water in the course of the dry season. They additionally dig horizontal tunnels 33 ft (10m) or deeper in lake and river banks to enable them to survive dry durations and even extreme drought.

FEEDING ECOLOGY AND DIET

Muggers are opportunistic feeders. The weight loss plan of the younger consists of bugs, crabs, frogs, fish, carrion, in addition to occasional small reptiles, birds, and mammals. Mature muggers over 6.5 ft (2 m) lengthy catch bigger prey akin to mammals (from monkeys to deer), water birds, and huge catfishes. Near human habitation, muggers will typically take farm animals and birds. Muggers have not often been identified to prey on people.

REPRODUCTIVE BIOLOGY

The annual mating season is December/January on mainland south Asia, variable in Sri Lanka. After about 40 days of gestation, the feminine mugger digs a gap nest and lays 20–40 eggs between March and May, the quantity growing along with her measurement. The feminine usually stays shut to the nest for the 60–70 days of incubation to release and look after the younger.

CONSERVATION STATUS

This species has vanished from most of its vary. In 2002 there have been over 8,000 crocodiles at numerous rearing stations, together with India’s largest breeding heart, the Madras Crocodile Bank, with no protected areas to release them. The mugger crocodile is strictly protected within the seven international locations by which it happens. The species is listed as Vulnerable on the IUCN Red List and is on CITES Appendix I. Estimated wild inhabitants is 5,000–10,000.

SIGNIFICANCE TO HUMANS

When muggers have been nonetheless plentiful, their eggs and meat have been essential food assets for a lot of of south Asia’s indigenous people. Attacks on people are uncommon, however muggers are handled with warning, respect, and typically animosity by native people. A well-planned and managed trade primarily based on muggers as a sustainable useful resource would profit each people and crocodiles in south Asia.