Tuesday, April 16, 2019

Mugger Crocodile

There are fifteen species of crocodile. I've previously seen the Nile crocodile in Tanzania and Botswana and the Morelet's crocodile in Mexico. On our recent trip to Sri Lanka we saw the mugger crocodile and the saltwater crocodile, the two species of crocodile found in that country. 
Mugger in Udawalawe NP.
The mugger crocodile is found from southern Iran and Pakistan to India, Nepal and Sri Lanka. It is found in slow moving freshwater lakes, rivers and marshes. It has been listed as vulnerable on the IUCN Red List since 1982. 
Mugger in Yala NP.
It is medium-sized among crocodiles with females averaging 6 feet, 7 inches to 8 feet, 2 inches and males averaging 9 feet, 10 inches to 11 feet, 6 inches in length. They rarely grow to 16 feet, 5 inches and the largest known was 18 feet, 6 inches. It has the broadest snout among crocodiles, a very powerful tail and webbed feet. 
This is my best snout-on photo of a mugger - in Udawalawe NP. 
Adults are dark olive to gray or brown. 
This mugger is a patchwork of colors. 
The head is rough, but has no ridges. It has large scutes around the neck (bony structures covered by skin). Scutes usually form four longitudinal series (but can be up to six) and 16 or 17 transverse series. 
This mugger, in Yala NP, shows the scutes on its back. 
The limbs have keeled scales and serrated fringes on the outer edges. It has 19 teeth on each side of its mouth. 
The serrated ridges along the tail in Yala NP.
Teeth on this mugger in Yala NP.
It overlaps in a few coastal areas with the saltwater crocodile, including Bundala National Park in Sri Lanka where we saw primarily saltwater crocodiles along the ocean or inland waters, but saw several mugger crocodiles a little further inland in ponds. 
This mugger is in Bundala NP.
We saw quite a few, at great distance, in a lake in Udawalawe National Park, saw quite a few in various sizes of water in Yala National Park, and as mentioned above in Bundala National Park. 
Mugger in Yala NP.

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