Mugger Crocodile

This medium-sized crocodile is named from a Hindu word meaning "water-monster", and true to its name, the reptile poses quite a threat to any prey that catches its eye. The young mugger crocodiles will take mostly small crustaceans and fish, but the adults will also prey on snakes, turtles and even deer and buffalo. They prefer slow-moving fresh water, not more than around 5 m (16 ft) deep, and will travel long distances over land in search of water during the dry season.

As its name suggests, the mugger crocodile rarely passes up an opportunity to grab a meal. Adults capture prey as large as buffalo.

Mugger crocodiles look very similar to alligators, with broad snouts and flattened heads. However, their sharp teeth are perfectly aligned, and this is what distinguishes them from the alligators in appearance. They have flattened tails and are strong swimmers, but do not use their feet to swim, despite their being webbed. Like all "crocs", muggers are social animals. The adults and juveniles often call to each other and, during the mating season, males establish territories and dominance by raising their snouts high above the ground and thrashing their tails.

Distribution: India, Pakistan and Sri Lanka.

Habitat: Shallow, slow-moving fresh water.

Food: Juveniles feed on fish, frogs and crustaceans; adults take a wide range of prey, including reptiles and mammals such as deer and buffalo.

Size: 2 - 5 m (6.5 - 16 ft).

Maturity: Females 6 years; males 10 years.

Breeding: Up to 28 eggs laid between February and April.

Life span: 40 years.

Status: Threatened.

Gallery of Mugger Crocodile