Saltwater Crocodile Reproduction
How do Crocodiles reproduce?
Saltwater Crocodiles are cold blooded reptiles. They use the sun to help regulate their body temperature. They are egg layers and the female crocodile will build a nest to lay her eggs and the heat of the nest will determine the sex of the majority of the crocodiles within the nest. The female will break of branches and scrape together a mound (nest) to lay her eggs in.
Typically a female saltwater crocodile will lay around 40 - 60 eggs. This usually happens between November and March of any given year.
The female crocodile will defend her nest with her life and she is never far away while the eggs are incubating.
Incubation temperature of around 37 degrees celsius will produce mainly male crocodiles, higher or lower temperatures will produce mainly female crocodiles.
In the wild only around 20% of the eggs will successfully produce a baby crocodiles. Because nesting occurs in the "wet season" often flooding will kill a lot of the embryo's.
Pigs and goanna's also predate on crocodile eggs which is why the female crocodile is never too far away.
When the eggs are ready to hatch the baby crocodiles will make a sound that can best be discribed as chirping from within the egg. This alerts the mother who will gently dig at the nest to expose the eggs.
Baby crocodiles have an "egg tooth" on the end of their upper jaw which they use to break open the egg to fee themselves.
The mother will assist the baby crocodiles to the water sometimes even carrying them in her mouth. The baby crocodile is ready to eat from day 1 and is born with teeth.
The mother will stay with the baby crocodiles for 5 - 7 months and then the babies are on their own.
Larger crocodiles will eat the baby crocodiles so they need some protection until a little larger.
Prawns, small fish, crabs and insects are what the baby crocodile will eat until large enough to take on larger prey such as lizards, larger fish and crabs and birds.