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Let Sleeping Giants

American Crocodile

This month's picture was taken by Vince Rose and was sent by Cherie Rose of the ACES (American Crocodile Endangered Sanctuary), Punta Gorda Toledo, Belize, Central America and shows an adult American Crocodile (C. acutus). Cherie tells the story...

"This crocodile is approx nine feet and has decided to reside in our canal. For the past three years she has nested here on the Rio Grande River in the Toledo District of Belize. We're located just north of Punta Gorda Town. She is wild and free. Her hatchlings have been few; and after reaching a year old three of them, from two separate nesting years, stopped feeding. Pretty much at the time when the next clutch hatched. Two of these animals died of apparent starvation (they also showed signs of skin disorders), and the third we have been tube feeding until a month ago when I was cleaning its pen and it escaped. We sighted it just three days ago in the canal doing okay. I'm not sure if the cause is high incubation temperatures, high salinity, water quality or just stress of the new clutches hatching. We actually have photos of three generations of these crocs hanging out all together and have documented behaviors of yearlings protecting hatchlings. It has been amazing! Then, this past month, a HUGE male has joined us and we have been watching the most spectacular mating rituals on a almost a nightly basis. They seem to be done mating now, but he still hangs around. The sad thing is that someone has at one time lopped this poor guys tail off right where the two rows of scutes join to one with a machete to sell it on the black market. We actually had to chase off poachers just the other day. I really wish to tag the neophytes this June, start some water quality sampling and conduct a population study. If you know of anyone wishing to donate equipment like a salinity refractometer, microscope, water tests... please keep us in mind. We will have bungalows here with full kitchens and baths (one is completed already) for anyone wishing to come study here. The lodging costs will go back into preserving the crocs. ACES is a Belize registered NPO. Other endangered species on the property seen regularly include Black Howler Monkeys, Keel-Billed Toucans, Mountain Tapir and Blue Morphos. Even seen a Jaguar once and tracks seasonally. Oh, and for us reptile lovers, we regularly see Iguanas, geckos and snakes, including Tommy Gulfs." You can reach ACES at acesnpo@hughes.net



Would you like to enter your best photograph as a potential Pic of the Month? Send it to me and I'll include the best here each month. Each year I run a competition where the best photograph each year is awarded a prize. To be in contention the picture must, above all, capture your attention.


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