Crocodylus mindorensis Schmidt, 1935
Vertebrate - Reptile
Critically endangered (IUCN)
The Philippine crocodile is a relatively small species known to reach a length of almost 3 meters. It is dark brown with white belly and black crossbands on the body and tail. It has a series of 4 to 6 large scales, called post-occipital scales, directly at the back of its head on the neck (these are absent in Pacific Estuarine Crocodile). It has less transverse ventral or belly scale rows. There are between 22 to 26 transverse ventral scale rows between the pectoral collar and the cloaca.
It inhabits primarily in freshwater habitat such as tributaries of large rivers, small lakes, swampy depressions and marshes. Its diet consists of turtles, snakes, frogs, insects and small mammals.
During reproduction, the Philippine crocodile builds nest mound of vegetation and the parents take care of their young. Five weeks after the mating season, the female crocodile lays eggs on her nest. Female Philippine crocodile lays 30 to 40 eggs.
Rare and endangered, the Philippine crocodile is found only in the islands of Luzon, Mindoro, Masbate, Samar, Negros, Busuanga, Mindanao, and Jolo in Sulu Archipelago.
The destruction of the freshwater habitat and the continuous hunting of crocodile for its skin as leather products pose danger to the Philippine crocodile population. The Crocodile Farming Institute (CFI), a project of the government and the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) was established on August 20, 1987 in Irawan, Puerto Princesa, Palawan. It aims to conserve the two endangered species of crocodiles in the Philippines and develop technologies on crocodile farming as a source of income. At CFI, propagation of crocodile is done through artificial method. Male and female crocodiles of the same species are paired and are given time to be familiar with each other until the female lays eggs. The eggs are then collected and placed in incubators to be artificially hatched. Captive-bred crocodiles are fed with meat and fish twice a week. The amount of food depends on their length and weight. Under the CFI, crocodiles harmful to humans are collected. Philippine crocodiles are important in our environment and in our economy for their leather skin, which is very expensive, and for their delicious meat. One just has to be cautious in dealing with crocodiles and must avoid provoking this animal so it does not hurt us.