A critically endangered crocodile native to the freshwater Orinoco River in Colombia and Venezuela, the Orinoco crocodile is recognizable by its long, sharp snout and yellowish hide with dark brown bands.
Orinoco crocodiles mate during dry periods and the female digs a nest on a sand bank 14 weeks after mating. The incubation period for the eggs is approximately three months and when they hatch, the newborns call to their mother who digs them out of the nest and carries them into the water. Mothers defend the babies for their first year, as they are vulnerable to black vultures, lizards, anacondas, caimans, and other predators.
The Orinoco crocodile’s biggest threat is man – who hunts it for its hide. Between the 1940s and 1960s, thousands of these crocodiles were slaughtered in the Orinoco River, which resulted in their numbers plummeting to near extinction. With protection status awarded in the 1970s, it is now a protected animal in Colombia and Venezuela.