Swamp Crocodile

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Swamp Crocodile
Marsh Crocodiles basking in the sun.JPG

Swamp crocodile(Crocodylus palustris)

without rank: Sauropsida
without rank: Archosauria
Order: Crocodiles (Crocodylia)
Family: Crocodiles (Crocodylidae)
Genre: Crocodylus
Art: Swamp Crocodile
Scientific name
Crocodylus palustris
Lesson, 1831

The marsh crocodile(Crocodylus palustris) is a species of the true crocodiles (Crocodylidae).


The swamp crocodile reaches a maximum length of about four meters. The adult animals are grey to grey-brown and mostly provided with dark drawings, the young animals are light brown to brown and have a dark transverse banding on the tail and the body.

Distribution and habitat

Distribution area

The range covers the Indian subcontinent and includes eastern Iran, much of Pakistan, the Terai lowlands in Nepal and Sri Lanka. In Bangladesh, swamp crocodiles are probably extinct.

The swamp crocodile is a freshwater dweller found mainly in rivers, lakes and swamps. It also inhabits the irrigation canals and man-made water reservoirs of its native habitat. Occasionally, swamp crocodiles have also been found in brackish water.


Like most other crocodiles, the marsh crocodile feeds on a wide variety of aquatic organisms. Its range includes fish, snakes, frogs, turtles, insects and small mammals. Large crocodiles also catch deer, water buffalo, and gaurs. They are also known to “steal” fish from fishing nets. In addition, a special hunting strategy for birds has been observed. The crocodiles balance sticks and twigs (the preferred nest-building material of birds) on their snouts. If birds come and want to use the sticks to build a nest, they are caught with a high success rate.[1]

The eggs are laid in pits. Such a nest contains between 25 and 30 eggs. Female swamp crocodiles kept in captivity not infrequently have two clutches per year.

Swamp crocodiles are highly threatened in some areas of their range.
In Iran, a prolonged drought has drastically reduced the number of crocodiles living there, in India it is the loss of natural habitats due to the explosively growing human population. The safest populations today are probably in Sri Lanka (subspecies Crocodylus palustris kimbula).


  • Charles A. Ross (Ed.): Crocodiles and Alligators – Evolution, Biology and Distribution, Orbis Verlag Niedernhausen 2002
  • Joachim Brock: Crocodiles – A life with armoured lizards, Natur und Tier Verlag Münster 1998

Web links

Commons: Swamp crocodile– Collection of images, videos and audio files

Individual references

  1. V. Dinets, J. C. Brueggen, J. D. Brueggen: Crocodilians use tools for hunting. Ethology Ecology & Evolution, 27(1), 74-78, 2015, online publication 2013, doi :10.1080/03949370.2013.858276.