Siamese Crocodile

Siamese Crocodile

Siamese Crocodile information

The Siamese crocodile, Crocodylus siamensis, is freshwater crocodile native to parts of South-East Asia. In the early 1990s it was considered more or less extinct, but since then surveys have showed that scattered populations do remain in several countries.

We still know very little about this rare crocodile species, especially compared to more famous and numerous crocs like the Saltwater crocodile and Nile crocodile.

Siamese Crocodile taxonomy

Kingdom:      Animalia
Phylum:         Chordata
Class:            Reptilia
Order:           Crocodilia
Family:          Crocodylidae
Genus:           Crocodylus
Species:         Crocodylus siamensis

Siamese Crocodile conservation status

Crocodylus siamensis is listed as Critically Endangered on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species.

The total wild population is estimated to be less than 5000 individuals. In 1992 the species was believed to have gone completely or very nearly extinct in the wild, but since then a number of surveys have confirmed the existence of several scattered populations.

The largest Crocodylus siamensis populations are found in Laos and Burma / Myanmar. Small populations are also known to exist in Vietnam, Thailand and northern Cambodia. There are no recent records from Brunei, Indonesia and Malaysia.

Main threats include habitat destruction and hunting.

Several thousands of individuals are kept in crocodile farms and the species is also bred in captivity, especially in Thailand and Cambodia. In Thailand, reintroductions are carried out to help preserve the species.

Sustainable harvesting has been suggested as an incentive to protect habitats since Crocodylus siamensis hides yields are high market place.

Siamese Crocodile range

The Siamese crocodile is native to Brunei, Burma / Myanmar, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Thailand, and Vietnam. It is however believed to be completely or nearly extinct in several of these countries. More surveys are needed before we can know for sure.

Siamese Crocodile habitat

The Siamese crocodile prefers slow moving waters, such as lakes, swamps and sheltered parts of rivers and streams. Its tolerance to salt remains unknown.

Siamese Crocodile size and appearance

Males can reach a length of 4 meters (13 feet) but most males never grow bigger than 3 meters (10 feet). The females are even smaller.

Hybrids are known to grow considerably larger than pure Crocodylus siamensis.

Juvenile Siamese crocodiles are golden tan with black stripes on body and tail. As they mature into adults, their bodies become darker.

Siamese Crocodile feeding and diet

The Siamese crocodile feeds chiefly on fish but is also known to catch reptiles and amphibians. It is believed to prey on small mammals as well, but this has not been proved.

Siamese Crocodile breeding

The Siamese crocodile breeds during the wet season. The female creates a mound nest in which she deposits 20-50 eggs. She guards the nest until the eggs hatch after roughly 80 days. As the offspring hatch, the mother helps them by digging them out of the nest and carrying them to the water. If she engages in any parental behavior after this point remains unknown.

Captive Siamese crocodiles normally attain sexual maturity at around 10 years, but we do not know if this is true in the wild as well.

Siamese Crocodile facts

Siamese Crocodile facts # 1
Compared to the Saltwater crocodile (Crocodylus porosus), the Siamese crocodile is considered a low threat to humans.

Siamese Crocodile facts # 2
The Siamese crocodile is known under many different names, such as Buaja, Buaya kodok, Jara Kaenumchued, Singapore small-grain, and Soft-belly crocodile.

Siamese Crocodile facts # 3
The scientific name Crocodylus siamensis means “Crocodile of Siam”. Siam used to be the official name of Thailand until 1939 when the name was change to Thailand. (The name of the country was then changed back to Siam during 1945-1949.)

Siamese Crocodile facts # 4
The Siamese crocodile can hybridize with the Saltwater crocodile. Hybrids are popular in farms since the hybrids grow bigger than pure Siamese crocs.
Siamese Crocodile facts # 5
The freshwater crocodile population living on the island of Borneo is considered by some to be distinct enough to be a separate species for which the name Crocodylus raninus has been suggested. Crocodylus raninus is however not an officially recognized species and the Borneo population remains a part of Crocodylus siamensis; at least until more data have been collected. To make things even more complicated, recent genetic analysis suggests that the Borneo population might actually be Crocodylus porosus crocodiles.

Siamese Crocodile lifespan

Average and maximal lifespan of the Siamese crocodile remains unknown.


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