Predators of Crocs

24 February, 2014

Crocodilians are often reviewed as formidable predators but only very few studies have evaluated the role of crocodilians as prey. Their mobile, semiaquatic and cryptic nature makes it difficult to detect them in the wild, hampering observations of predation events. A recent paper published in Herpetological Monographs by Biologic’s Ruchira Somaweera and his colleagues reviewed published literature and field records to evaluate the incidence of predation in crocodilian populations, and the implications of that mortality for crocodilian life-history evolution. The review reveals an astonishing 279 cases, involving 184 species of predators (including insets, crustaceans, fish and even amphibians!) preying on 19 species of crocodilians (including crocodiles, alligators, caimans and gharial). The review further discuss how the threat of predation may have influenced the evolution of life history traits such as nest-site selection, maternal care of eggs and hatchlings, crèche behavior in hatchlings, and cryptic coloration and patterning.