CSL
Crocodylus siamensis (SCHNEIDER, 1801)


NAMES | DISTRIBUTION | HABITAT | STATUS | APPEARANCE | IMAGES | DIET | BREEDING | CONSERVATION

FAMILY:
ALLIGATORIDAE

A. mississippiensis
A. sinensis
C. crocodilus
C. c. apaporiensis
C. c. fuscus
C. latirostris
C. yacare
M. niger
P. palpebrosus
P. trigonatus

FAMILY:
CROCODYLIDAE

C. acutus
C. intermedius
C. johnstoni
C. mindorensis
C. moreletii
C. niloticus
C. novaeguineae
C. palustris
C. porosus
C. rhombifer
C. siamensis
M. cataphractus
O. tetraspis
T. schlegelii

FAMILY:
GAVIALIDAE

G. gangeticus

DICHOTOMOUS KEY
[German]

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STATUS OF INFORMATION:
This information was most-recently updated January 2009 and is considered up-to-date. Please contact me directly regarding updates or corrections.

COMMON NAMES:
Siamese crocodile, Siamese freshwater crocodile, Singapore small-grain, Cocodrilo de Siam, Crocodile du Siam, Buaja, Buaya kodok, Jara Kaenumchued, Soft-belly

NAME ETYMOLOGY:
> Crocodylus is derived from the Greek krokodeilos which means literally "pebble worm" (kroko = pebble; deilos = worm, or man) referring to the appearance of a crocodile.
> siamensis means "of Siam" (ie. Siamese), derived from siam + ensis (Latin for "belonging to")

SUBSPECIES:
C. raninus has been suggested as a separate species occurring in Borneo, and although there is some supportive evidence, data are still lacking and the classification is not recognised. Recent genetic work suggests that specimens thought to be C. raninus may in fact be C. porosus.

DISTRIBUTION:
[CLICK ON MAP FOR DETAILED RANGE]
Distribution map Brunei Darussalam, Cambodia, Indonesia (including Borneo and possibly Java), Laos PDR, Malaysia (Sabah, Sarawak), Myanmar, Thailand, Vietnam. The species may, however, be extinct in many of these areas.

HABITAT:
The ecology of this species is still very poorly understood. It probably prefers slow-moving areas of freshwater (swamps, sheltered parts of rivers and streams), and such areas may be refugia for the remaining small populations in the wild. It can also found in lakes and rivers, and possibly brackish areas.

STATUS:
     CITES: Appendix I
     IUCN Red List: CR A1ac (CRITICALLY ENDANGERED)
     Estimated wild population: Under 5,000
Summary: Extinct or nearly extinct in most countries except Cambodia, although threatening processes are high

APPEARANCE:
[click on image for enlargement]
Head drawing Maximum size 3 to 4 m in males, but most animals do not exceed 3 m. Only hybrid species with C. porosus exceed this length, and these are suggested by some to be capable of reaching very large sizes. Pure juvenile C. siamensis resemble light-coloured C. porosus (golden tan with black stripes on tail and body), but the adults have broader snouts and the gular (throat) scales are more transverse.

Dentition codeDENTITION:
4 pre-maxillary; 13-14 maxillary; 15 mandibular
Total no. of teeth = 64-66

IMAGES:
[click on image for enlargement]

Click Hypomelanistic sub-adult

DIET:
Predominantly fish, but also amphibians, reptiles and possibly small mammals - the broad snout suggests a generalist feeding strategy. Again, very little is known of the feeding preferences of this species in the wild.

BREEDING:
Captive animals have been found to mature at around 10 years. This species is known to breed during wet season (April and May), and lay 20 to 50 eggs in a mound nest which is then guarded by the female. Hatching occurs after around 80 days, at which time the female will open the nest and carry the hatchlings to the water. It is unknown how long, if at all, she guards her brood following hatching.

CONSERVATION:
The Siamese crocodile has a critical status in the wild (i.e. virtually extinct). In recent years, surveys have been undertaken to assess its true status, as before this virtually no reliable data were available on its distribution. This made population estimates very difficult and, although more data are now available, a real assessment of its actual status in the wild is still not available.

Surveys revealed a handful of animals in Thailand, suspected to be incapable of viable breeding, and so the species may soon become extinct in this area. In Cambodia, population estimates of between 50 and 4000 animals exist, but these require independent confirmation. Captive breeding operations in this country are very successful, however, and the status of the species in captivity is far from threatened. In other areas of its range, it has been found that once widely-distributed populations are now severely depleted and the trend does not appear to be reversing.

Major threats to the continued survival of this species in the wild come from habitat destruction (conversion to agricultural land) and hunting. However, it appears that its status is not quite as bleak as a few years ago, as proper surveys have revealed some populations and identified the threatening factors. Also, the skin of this species is considered to be valuable, and therefore commercial use and management become a viable conservation strategy. The species has been bred extensively in captivity, and a knowledge base for longterm farming / ranching operations certainly exists. The species is also considered to be relatively inoffensive and a low threat to humans compared with other species such as C. porosus.

Hybridization with C. porosus in captivity is an undesirable trend, especially as hybrids may be preferred by the skin trade for their superior growth rates and hence increased yield.

Restocking programs are underway in Thailand, with crocodiles supplied from crocodile farms. Reintroduction depends upon the existence of protected habitat and the genetic purity of stock being reintroduced.

MORE INFORMATION:
For more information on distribution and conservation issues for this species,see the CSG
Action Plan resource.

SIGNIFICANT REFERENCES:

  • Cox, JH, Frazier, R & Maturbongs, R (1993). Freshwater crocodilians of Kalimantan (Indonesia, Borneo). Copeia 1993(2): 564-566
  • Kitiyanant, Y, Youngprapakorn, P, Songthaveesin, C, Tocharus, C, Jaruansuwan, M, Junprasert, S & Pavasuthipaisit, K (1994). Seasonal changes of sperm morphology and reproductive tracts of Crocodylus siamensis. In: Crocodiles. Proceedings of the 12th Working Meeting of the Crocodile Specialist Group. IUCN, Gland, Switzerland. pp. 268-275
  • Ratanakorn, P, Amget, B & Ottlet, B (1993). Preliminary surveys of crocodilians in Thailand. In: Crocodiles. Proceedings of the 12th Working Meeting of the Crocodile Specialist Group. IUCN, Gland, Switzerland. pp. 35-56
  • Smith, LA (1919). Crocodylus siamensis. J. Nat. Hist. Soc. Siam. 3: 217-222
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