Philippine crocodile

Class: Reptilia
Order: Crocodylia
Family: Crocodylidae
Genus and Species: Crocodylus novaeguineae mindorensis
  • Crocodile with grayish-green upperparts and dark bars. Underparts are a snowy white. Numerous teeth are visible.
Share this page:

Philippine crocodile

A small, critically endangered species of crocodile, Philippine crocodiles were once prevalent throughout the Philippines but now live only on a few islands.

Physical Description

Philippine crocodiles are heavily armored and brown in color with black markings. They have a broad snout for a crocodile.

Size

The Philippine crocodile is a smaller member of the crocodile family, with males reaching up to 10 feet (3 meters) while females are smaller.

Native Habitat

Philippine crocodiles were once prevalent throughout the Philippines but they are currently only found in small, fragmented habitats on Luzon and Mindanao islands. They live mainly in freshwater rivers, ponds and marshes.

Food/Eating Habits

Philippine crocodiles eat fish, invertebrates, mammals, other reptiles and water birds.

At the Smithsonian's National Zoo, Philippine crocodiles receive crocodile pellets, smelt, rats and mice.

Reproduction and Development

Philippine crocodiles have been observed, both in human care and in the wild, mating in January with the eggs laid sometime between February and October. Clutch size varies from seven to 30 eggs, with incubation ranging from 65 to 85 days. Females construct either a mound nest of twigs, leaves and soil or a hole nest to conceal their eggs. Both the male and female actively guard the nest.

Philippine Crocodile eggs have shown evidence of temperature-dependent sex determination: the temperature at which the egg incubates determines the sex of the baby crocodile inside.

Lifespan

Not enough information is known about this species to determine an average life span.

The Philippine crocodile is one of the most endangered crocodilian species, with estimates of wild populations under 100. Since 2003, the Mabuwaya Foundation has been working with local populations to change the perception of this species and work to protect as well as create new habitat and nesting sites. They have been successful in routinely breeding this species. Part of their conservation efforts include a "head start" program in which they release the young crocodiles into specially built, protected habitats. The foundation is supported financially by a cooperative agreement of zoos exhibiting this species, including the Smithsonian's National Zoo and Conservation Biology Institute.

This species was once considered a subspecies of the New Guinea crocodile (Crocodylus novaguineae). There is not much known about this species, though recent conservation efforts and captive management of this species are adding to the body of research.