By: Lauren Augustine
It's an exciting time of year at RDC! Our Cuban crocodiles have begun exhibiting breeding behaviors. In general the males will initiate courtship with a head slap. This involves the male making a very specific posture in the pool where his head is raised above the waterline, his back is arched and his tail rises up out of the water. He will then forcefully slam his jaws against the water's surface. This behavior is called a head slap and it's a fairly effective communication method. This lets the females know that he is interested in breeding.
In addition to watching our crocodiles exhibit a complex array of courtship behaviors during breeding season, you can also frequently observe our male crocodiles defending their territories. We have two males in adjacent exhibits that are divided by fencing. They can communicate with one another, but cannot physically touch. As Cuban crocodiles are territorial, especially during breeding season, you can see our males frequently displaying aggressive behaviors to defend their territory. This behavior will continue and intensify over the next few months as the crocs continue to breed.