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The Croc and Gator Blog Feb 08, 2016

By: Lauren Augustine

Cuban crocodile breeding season started in December at the Reptile Discovery Center. This usually means we see some aggressive behaviors between our two males. Our males are separated in different enclosures and are never in the same space, but they can still see each other. They will signal their intent with postures and vocalizations. They often face each other, either standing erect with their mouths open or laying down with their tails aggressively wagging back and forth. Occasionally one male will lunge with his mouth open against the fence. In general, Miguel, the smaller animal, will leave the interaction first and slowly retreat into the pool. That sort of interaction will often precede breeding events with the females.

On Feb. 5, we went through and measured all of our hatchling and juvenile crocodiles—that's seven crocodiles! Once we were done recording their length and weight we moved one of the three year old juveniles on to exhibit. He was the first Cuban crocodile to hatch at the Zoo in more than 20 years! He hatched July 6, 2012 weighing 0.14 pounds and measuring 10 inches in total length! Since that day we have hatched six more critically endangered Cuban crocodiles to help bolster populations in human care and increase the genetic diversity of the population!

At just over 3 years old, this crocodile weighs more than 7 pounds and is 39 inches (3.25 feet) in total length! He is growing up fast and is now on exhibit at the Reptile Discovery Center. He still has a lot of growing to do though, adult males can grow to 126 inches (10.5 feet)!