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Learn about this one while it's here, folks.

The Philippine Crocodile (Crocodylus mindorensis), also called the Mindoro Crocodile, is one of the most endangered species of any crocodilian. Originally thought to be a subspecies of the New Guinea Crocodile, in 1989 additional evidence caused the Philippine Crocodilian to be re-classified as a unique species. Philippine Crocodiles can only be found in the freshwater marshes, lakes and rivers of the Philippines but has already been extirpated from several islands.


Mature adult Philippine Crocodiles are small compared to other species, with males reaching lengths of 10 feet (3.1 meters). Females are slightly smaller, and individuals of both sexes reach sexual maturity when they are approximately 4.9 feet (1.5 meters) and 33 pounds (15 kg). Hatchlings and juveniles are brightly colored, mostly yellow with dark bands. These markings fade and the overall color darkens as they get older.


The diet of Philippine Crocodiles consists primarily of fish, other reptiles, amphibians, and invertebrates, but little is known about the specifics in wild populations. Though they were once found on every island in the Philippines, the same kind of commercial over-hunting that had such a devastating impact on the populations of other previously-discussed crocodilians did not spare the Philippine Crocodile. On top of that, habitat destruction and irresponsible fishing has contributed to its steady decline. They are extremely rare and therefore difficult to study.


Breeding behavior has been observed between captive Philippine Crocodiles. Gravid females build nest mounds during the end of the dry season, using vegetation and mud. Clutches are small, consisting of only 7 to 14 eggs. The females have been observed to care for the eggs during the incubation period and of the hatchlings afterward. In the wild, hatchlings are never counted as part of the population when the health of the species is assessed, because the survival rate of hatchlings is so low.


As of 2011, there are estimated to be fewer than 250 adult Philippine Crocodiles in the wild. They are under the nation's protection, with legislation that states that killing a Philippine Crocodile is strictly forbidden and carries penalties that include large fines and jail time. There are a few institutions that are conducting captive breeding projects in order to do what they can to save the species from extinction. Let's hope they are successful.

Source for all images used in this post.

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