American crocodile

Species profile

Name: the American crocodile (Crocodylus acutus) is a species of crocodile found across the Americas.

Appearance: American crocodiles have short legs, powerful tails, and scales running down their backs. They are a distinctive pale grey colour compared to other crocodiles which are often darker.

Size: they are one of the largest crocodile species reaching lengths of up to 6 m and weighing over 900 kg.

Diet: they eat a range of prey including insects, birds, cattle, turtles, crabs, snails, and frogs. They are ambush predators, with their nostrils, eyes, and ears located on the tops of their heads so they can conceal their bodies underwater while they wait for prey.

Did you know: American crocodiles are most at home in water. They move their long, powerful tails in a sinuous motion that allows them to swim at speeds of up to 32 km per hour! On land they are more ungainly and are often seen crawling on their stomachs. However, they can move quickly if they need to – extending their legs they can ‘high walk’ allowing them to reach up to 16 km per hour. So watch out!

Location: they are the most widespread of the crocodile species found in the Americas – ranging from Florida to Peru. Alongside the saltwater crocodile, they are the only species of crocodile that thrive in saltwater and are often found in coastal lakes, swamps, and lagoons.

Where to see American crocodiles

According to reports submitted to WildSide, you can see American crocodiles in the following places:

Place Chance to see User rating No. reports
Crocodile Bridge
Costa Rica
very high
Costa Rica
very good

Photo credit: ryanacandee under a Creative Commons licence from Flickr

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