The Philippine or Mindoro crocodile is restricted solely to three areas within the Philippines. These animals have been suffering through a significant decline.
They are carnivores which will feed on a range of animal prey including fish, insects, birds, small mammals and reptiles.
These crocodiles live in freshwater environments.
The decline of the Philippine crocodile was brought about through hunting for their skins, persecution due to a perceived threat and entanglement in fishing gear. Captive breeding projects provide hope for their survival.
Learn more about these remarkable reptiles by reading on below.
The Philippines crocodile is one of the smaller crocodile species measuring up to 3m (10ft) long. Females come in slightly smaller than males. Males may weigh up to 190kg (420lb) with females only reaching around 90kg (200lb).
In this species the snout is quite broad. They have heavy dorsal amour. Their teeth number between 66 and 68. These are regularly falling out with new ones growing in.
Their coloration is a golden brown which darkens as they grow. Darker bands run across the tail.
Philippines crocodiles are carnivores. They feed on fish, shrimp, snails, crabs, small mammals, birds and snakes.
The Philippine crocodile was previously found across many of the islands which make up the Philippine’s. Records of the species exist from Luzon, Mindoro, Masbate, Samar, Jolo, Negros, Busuanga and Mindanao.
Unfortunately a range of factors (see predators and threats section) has seen their range reduced to now only cover three islands, Dalupiri island, Northern Luzon and Ligawasan marsh on Mindanao.
Philippine crocodiles make their home on the coastal and estuarine shores. Freshwater areas make up most of their habitat. These may include small lakes and ponds, small rivers and marshes.
In parts of their range they may occur alongside the saltwater crocodile.
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During the dry season a female will begin to build a nest using leaves, twigs and soils. Eggs are carried in the belly of the female for 2-3 months before being deposited into the nest. A clutch includes 15-26 eggs. Both the male and female will take turns to watch the nest.
After 65-85 days the young Philippines crocodile will hatch. The mother will spend time caring for the hatchlings.
Like many other crocodilians there is evidence that the gender of a Philippine crocodiles eggs are determined by the age at which they are incubated.
Maturity is reached at 1.5m (4.9ft) with an average weight at this time being 15kg (33lb).
During the day Philippine crocodiles will rest in the sun to warm up. When they become too hot they open their mouth which helps to release some of the heat.
These crocodiles can float on the surface of the water. To control buoyancy they are able to ingest stones.
In the wild they are believed to be solitary. When currents are high they have been seen to congregate in shallow ponds. When housed together in captivity they are highly aggressive towards one another.
Predators and Threats
The population of Philippine crocodiles has been recorded to number just 92 to 137 individuals and continues to reduce. A number of captive breeding projects are being conducting in hopes of restoring the population.
Since 2001 this species has been given legal protection within its natural range.
Their decline has been brought about through use of their habitat, persecution due to a perceived threat and entanglement in fishing nets. Luckily harvesting for the skin trade has mostly stopped though some captive individuals are still traded.
The Philippine crocodile is also known as the Mindoro crocodile.
Until recently the Philippine crocodile was classed as a subspecies of the New Guinea crocodile.
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van Weerd, M., C. Pomaro, C., de Leon, J., Antolin, R. & Mercado, V. 2016. Crocodylus mindorensis. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2016: e.T5672A3048281. https://dx.doi.org/10.2305/IUCN.UK.2016-3.RLTS.T5672A3048281.en. Downloaded on 25 July 2021.
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