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The Siamese Crocodile (Crocodylus siamensis) used to be found in freshwater habitats in southeast Asia, specifically Indonesia, Vietnam, Burma, Malaysia, Laos, Thailand, Brunei and Cambodia. It has been extirpated from much of its historical range, and now the only wild populations can be found in Cambodia. Captive breeding programs are being conducted in various places in order to replenish the species.


Some of the local names for the Siamese Crocodile include "soft-belly," buaya kodok, buaja, and jara kaenumchued. They are on the smaller side for crocodilians, with large captive adult males growing up to 13 feet (4 meters) in length, and weighing about 770 pounds (350 kg). Adult females are slightly smaller, measuring 10 feet (3.2 meters) in total body length and weighing 330 pounds (150 kg). Adults in the wild, however, are rarely observed to be longer than 10 feet.

The diet of wild Siamese Crocodiles has not been thoroughly researched, as they are so rarely encountered, but adults are believed to feed on fish, small mammals, other reptiles and amphibians. Their preferred habitats are rivers and streams, lakes, marshes and swamps. True Siamese Crocodiles, those that are not hybrids of other crocodile species, are not aggressive towards humans and there have been no documented unprovoked attacks.


Much of what is known about the breeding habits of the Siamese Crocodile are based on observations of captive populations. Captive females build nest mounds out of soil and vegetation, and will lay clutches of 20 to 50 eggs during the wet season (typically April and May). When the eggs hatch, the female will excavate the nest, assisting in hatching when necessary, and bring the hatchlings to the water in her mouth.


Siamese Crocodiles are considered to be critically endangered by the IUCN, and they are under constant threat of extinction in the wild due to habitat destruction. There are many factors that contributed to the massive decline in population, including the Vietnam War, the conversion of its habitat to land for agriculture, the intrusion of cattle, pesticides used in rice farming, and hydroelectic dams that have been or will be constructed that radically change what habitat remains.


Source for all images used in this post.

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