There are 27 extant or living species of crocodiles today, but eight of them are either critically endangered or vulnerable. If people do not do something about them, they will one day be gone forever.
Most endangered species of crocs are endemic to a nation or a small region. In most cases, their population dwindled because of poaching and habitat loss.
There are also those who hunt them for food. If humans do not do anything about it, their extinction can cause irreparable damage to the ecosystem.
|African Dwarf Crocodile (Osteolaemus tetraspis)||Vulnerable|
|American Crocodile (Crocodylus acutus)||Vulnerable|
|Chinese Alligator (Alligator sinensis)||Critically Endangered|
|Cuban Crocodile (Crocodylus rhombifer)||Critically Endangered|
|Mugger Crocodile (Crocodylus palustris)||Vulnerable|
|Orinoco Crocodile (Crocodylus intermedius)||Critically Endangered|
|Philippine Crocodile (Crocodylus mindorensis)||Critically Endangered|
|Siamese Crocodile (Crocodylus siamensis)||Critically Endangered|
Alligators and Crocodiles that are Endangered
1. African Dwarf Crocodile
Also known as the broad-snouted crocodile, it is the smallest living species of the crocodile family. They are medium in size, and they can grow up to 1.5 meters or 4.9 feet. The biggest that was ever recorded was 6.2 feet, and they can weigh up to 40 kilograms.
Read More: Are Crocodiles Bigger than Alligators?
These crocodiles have yellowish and black patches on their bellies, and they have heavily armored necks, backs, and tails. They are now labelled as vulnerable.
Their numbers are dwindling because of habitat loss and hunting. The logging industry has wiped out their natural habitat, and people hunt them for their meat.
2. American Crocodile
The American crocodile prefers to live in saline waters. It lives in South Florida, the coasts of Mexico, Peru, and Venezuela. Some of them live in rivers, but most congregate in brackish waters.
Read More: Do Crocodiles Live in the Ocean?
It is one of the biggest crocodile species, and it can grow up to 20 feet and weigh up to 2,000 pounds. They have a long life span, too.
Right now, their conservation status is Threatened Species. Pollution, hunting, poaching for skin and meat, and loss of habitat are the main drivers of its declining population.
It was overhunted in the 1950s and 1960s, and commercial farming has made drastic contributions to its loss of habitat.
3. Chinese Alligator
A threatened species, the Chinese alligator is only found in China, and it is one of the two last extant species of the alligator, the one being the American alligator.
The Chinese alligator is smaller than its cousin, the American alligator, and its range is restricted to only six regions in China.
It is critically endangered, and the population is only estimated to be at 300. The two main factors that contributed to its population decline are habitat loss and human killing. People killed them extensively in the 1970s for food and because they were regarded as pests.
4. Cuban Crocodile
Right now, scientists are worried that this crocodile will go extinct. Its cousins, the American crocodiles, are rapidly interbreeding with them, and this can result in the extinction of the Cuban crocodile species. Its official status is critically endangered.
Read More: Can Crocodiles and Alligators Breed?
A small species, the Cuban crocodile can grow up to 7.5 feet and weigh up to 80 kilograms. They are endemic to Cuba, and hence the name.
They are on the verge of extinction because humans hunted them down. Although there are conservation areas and populations in the wild, much is left to study about them. Today, there are many breeding programs for this species to help its population recover.
5. Mugger Crocodile
Listed as Vulnerable, the mugger crocodile is also referred to as the marsh crocodile. It lives in freshwaters in Iran and the Indian sub-continent. They can grow up to 16 feet and weigh up to 430 pounds.
This crocodile is unique because both parents protect the young for up to one year. As of 2013, the estimated population count is only 8,700, and no group has more than 1,000 individuals.
The population decline is attributed to habitat loss. Humans converted their natural habitats into industrial and agricultural sites. Today, it is illegal to kill them. If a mugger crocodile eats livestock, the government compensates the farmer.
6. Orinoco Crocodile
The Orinoco crocodile is highly endangered because of excessive hunting. It was from the 1940s to the 1960s when thousands of them died at the hands of humans. They were hunted for their skins. It was in the 1970s when legislation was passed to give it protection.
The Orinoco crocodile is a freshwater species. It lives in Colombia and Venezuela, and it is a large species. It can grow up to 22 feet, bigger than the American crocodile mad weigh up to 840 pounds.
Based on estimates, there are only between 250 and 1,500 individuals left in the wild. The largest population is in Venezuela, where there is a group of 500 crocodiles living in the same area.
7. Philippine Crocodile
The Philippine crocodile is one small species. Also called the Mindoro Crocodile, it is a freshwater species that is endemic to the southern Philippines.
The Philippine crocodile became endangered because of dynamite fishing—fishermen use dynamites to catch fish. As such, the crocodiles that happen to be in the way get blasted.
This species can grow up 9.9 feet and weigh 420 pounds. They are unique as they are golden brown in color, but they eventually get darker as they get older. Today, it is illegal to hunt and kill it.
8. Siamese Crocodile
The status of this crocodile is critically endangered. However, there are extensive efforts ongoing to bring back its population to a healthy number. Poaching is the main reason for its population decline. They are sold for hundreds of dollars in the black market.
It is not a huge species, and it is endemic to certain regions in Asia. It is found in Malaysia, Laos, Cambodia, and other Asian countries. They are broad, but they are not big. They can grow up to 4.9 feet and only weigh up to 26 pounds.
Crocodiles are keystone species. What it means is that when they disappear, there is a significant impact to the environment and the ecology. Alligators, for example, create deep ponds that provide refuge to fish.
Fortunately, various governments from around the world have taken steps to conserve these animals. From habitat preservation to extensive breeding programs, there are actions that humans are taking to bring back their populations to normal count.
Stuart is the editor of Fauna Facts. He edits our writers’ work as well as contributing his own content. Stuart is passionate about sustainable farming and animal welfare and has written extensively on cows and geese for the site.