Siamese Crocodile Fact File

Crocodylus siamensis

Weight

350kg

(772lbs)

Length

4m

(13.2n)

Lifespan

Wild 25-35 years

Captive 25-35 years

Diet

Carnivore

Fish and animals

Conservation Status

IUCN

Critically Endangered

The Siamese crocodile is also known as the small-belly crocodile. They are a native of South-East Asia.

Heavy hunting throughout their range drove them to near extinction by the 1990s. Fortunately since then they have seen an increase in numbers but the adult population still rests at less than 1000 individuals.

These animals were primarily targeted for their skins. This led to large numbers being held in farms. These animals may have proved the savior for their species as some are now being released in to the wild.

They feed on a range of small animals. Each year females may lay up to 50 eggs.

Read on to learn more about these ancient reptiles.

Appearance

The Siamese crocodile is colored olive-green though some individuals are dark-green in color. Their body is covered by hard scales which help to provide an armored covering for the body.

At the back of the neck is a prominent crest of bone which helps to distinguish them from other crocodilian species.

Their body ends with a long, strong muscular tail used to help push them through the water when swimming. This tail features dark cross-bands running across it.

Coming out from the sides of the body are four legs. The front two have five separate toes while on the back feet are four partially webbed toes.

They have two eyes located close together on top of the head giving them binocular vision. A third, transparent eyelid is present which protects the eye while they are underwater but still allows them to see.

At the end of the snout is the nostrils which allow them to breathe when almost entirely submerged.

These are a medium sized species of crocodile. Males are recorded to reach a maximum length of 4m (13ft) long though a length of 3.5m (11.5ft) long is more common. Females tend to be smaller in size than males.

Diet


The Siamese crocodile is considered a carnivore. Their diet includes a range of small animals such as frogs, reptiles, birds, mammals and invertebrates with fish considered a main part of the diet.

They will lay in wait at the edge of the water and when animals come to drink they will launch out and capture them. Prey will be drowned before it is consumed.

As they are unable to chew they will shake their prey and tear it to pieces so they can swallow it.

Siamese Crocodile

Range

Asia is the native home of the Siamese crocodile. Here they can be found in Cambodia; Indonesia; Lao People’s Democratic Republic and Thailand. It is currently uncertain if the populations in Malaysia ad Myanmar remain while the population in Viet Nam has been reintroduced.

Habitat

These animals make their home in freshwater habitats. They make use of slow-moving water courses including rivers, streams, lakes, marshes and swamplands. In the wet season they may move in to flooded landscapes.

They will dig a burrow in the river bank where they can rest.

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Reproduction

Breeding takes place from the end of the dry season and in to the start of the wet season. This occurs from March to June in their range.

A female forms her nest on floating vegetation at the edge of lakes and rivers. These will be located in thick shade.

They lay a clutch of eggs which includes 11 to 26 eggs. In captivity clutches of up to 50 have been recorded. These are incubated for 70-80 days following which the hatchlings emerge.

Once the eggs hatch females open the nest and carry them to the water.

First year survival for the hatchlings has been estimated at just 22%.

Juveniles have a brownish or golden hue to their body covered with black stripes and spots.

Behavior

Adult crocodiles have been observed to dig burrows. The purpose of these is not recorded.

Their is a dominance hierarchy. Dominant individuals swim higher in the water than the less dominant individuals. The dominant individuals gain mating rights and have first choice of nests, basking areas and food.

Individuals may fight to establish dominance by banging the sides of their heads together.

Adults produce vocalizations including a low roar to communicate with one another.

Siamese Crocodile

Predators and Threats

Large scale hunting of the Siamese crocodile saw a significant increase in the 1950s. This was to supply the skin trade with the Siamese crocodile see to produce a fine, soft leather. By 1992 they were widely recognized as extinct in the wild.

In 2000 a study in Cambodia was able to confirm their population still persisted.

At present less than 1000 mature individuals are thought to make up the population. This number is being further reduced by continued illegal hunting of both adults and eggs.

This relatively rarity means they are among the least studied of the crocodilians.

Other threats currently faced by the species include entanglement in fishing gear and habitat alteration primarily through the building of dams. Pumping of water for agriculture has also led to a reduction in available habitat.

Reintroduction programs have been carried out in Thailand and Cambodia which have helped to boost numbers.

Large numbers of the Siamese crocodile are held in farms. These may provide a potential source for reintroduction though many are inter-bred with other species.

Quick facts

Other names used for this species of crocodile include the Siamese freshwater crocodile, Singapore small-grain, and soft-belly.

The blood of a Siamese crocodile has anti-bacterial properties.

Siamese Crocodile

Photo Credits

Top and Middle One

This Photo was taken by Supanut Arunoprayote, CC BY 4.0 <https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0>, via Wikimedia Commons

Middle Two

Bernard DUPONT from FRANCE, CC BY-SA 2.0 <https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0>, via Wikimedia Commons

Bottom

Jean-Pierre Dalbéra from Paris, France, CC BY 2.0 <https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0>, via Wikimedia Commons

References

Fauna-flora.org. 2021. Siamese crocodile | Fauna & Flora International. [online] Available at: <https://www.fauna-flora.org/species/siamese-crocodile> [Accessed 13 May 2021].

Platt, S., McCaskill, L., Rainwater, T., Temsiripong, Y., As-singkily, M., Simpson, B. and Bezuijen, M., 2021. Siamese Crocodile Crocodylus siamensis. [ebook] IUCN, pp.1-3. Available at: <http://www.iucncsg.org/365_docs/attachments/protarea/29c508b2ec288d106ec26fdf26d1a0b5.pdf> [Accessed 13 May 2021].

Crocodiles Of The World. 2021. Siamese Crocodile – Crocodiles Of The World. [online] Available at: <https://www.crocodilesoftheworld.co.uk/animals/siamese-crocodile/> [Accessed 13 May 2021].

Laos.wcs.org. 2021. Siamese Crocodile. [online] Available at: <https://laos.wcs.org/Saving-Wildlife/Siamese-Crocodile.aspx> [Accessed 13 May 2021].

Bezuijen, M., Simpson, B., Behler, N., Daltry, J. & Tempsiripong, Y. 2012. Crocodylus siamensis. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2012: e.T5671A3048087. https://dx.doi.org/10.2305/IUCN.UK.2012.RLTS.T5671A3048087.en. Downloaded on 13 May 2021.

Hoglezoo.org. 2021. Siamese Crocodile | Utah’s Hogle Zoo. [online] Available at: <https://www.hoglezoo.org/meet_our_animals/animal_finder/siamese_crocodile/> [Accessed 13 May 2021].

Zoobarcelona.cat. 2021. Siamese crocodile. [online] Available at: <https://www.zoobarcelona.cat/en/animals/siamese-crocodile> [Accessed 13 May 2021].

Thai National Parks. 2021. Crocodylus siamensis, Siamese crocodile. [online] Available at: <https://www.thainationalparks.com/species/siamese-crocodile> [Accessed 13 May 2021].

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