The Crocs Are Here!

7 November 2014, Friday

UBIZANE’S FIRST PREDATORS ARRIVE!!!

For over a year Ubizane Wildlife Reserve has been awaiting the arrival of the crocodiles. Now after tons of paperwork, payments and permits, the crocodiles are here. The float of ten one year old crocs consists of two males and eight females. The Ubizane team assembled at the pond which was prepared well in advance in anticipation of the new arrivals. Once two of the crocodiles had been offloaded, Chloe, our “Goatdarshian” decided to run into the pond and welcome the newcomers, which sent the whole team into a panic craze trying to get her out of there, one of the team members had to chase her out or risk her becoming a welcoming feast for the crocs. These guys are the first predatory animals on the reserve so Chloe thought they were the usual harmless neighbours she is used to.


Tiaan and Dwain did the work from taking the crocs out of the vehicle, carrying them to the pond side, removing the duct tape from the mouth and ushering them into the pond. This was no easy task as one of the males, who I nicknamed “Boris” (after every obstinate movie character in the ‘90s), made it very difficult for them to take him to the pond. Boris made a growling steam- like hissing sound and jerked around while lashing out with his tail. His escapades where put to shame by the displays of one of the female crocs, our General Manager Natascha named her “Ma Lungile”, for a good eight minutes she was struggling and fighting with Tiaan and Dwayne, every chance she got she would make a run for it into the Fever Tree Forest. The two movers sustained quite a number of cuts from her claws, thank God her mouth was duct taped otherwise it could have been worse. At one point “Ma Lungile” ran in the direction of the driver who was standing a bit far from the pond, he was like Usain Bolt in the 100meters at the Olympics.

While offloading croc number nine the team had a photo op with her. Once the crocs where released into the water they lay low for the whole day, probably just getting used to their new home or just resting from a very long trip to Ubizane. The entire Ubizane Team happily welcomes the new addition to our ever growing family.

FUN FACTS ABOUT THE NILE CROCODILE.

The Crocodile {Crocodylus Niloticus}
The Nile crocodile is found throughout Africa. Large, lizard shaped reptile with four short legs and long muscular tail. The hide is rough and scaled. Juvenile Nile crocodiles are dark olive to brown with darker crossbands on tail and body. Adults are uniformly dark with darker crossbands on tail.
Crocodile are found throughout South Africa in rivers, freshwater marshes, estuaries and in mangrove swamps.
SIZE
Length: 2.5 to 5.5m; Weight: up to 1000 kg or more.
HABITAT
They live in lakes, rivers, freshwater swamps and brackish water, in deep pools and on sand banks with suitable nesting spots and a sufficient food supply.
DISTRIBUTION
The Nile crocodile is the most common crocodilian found in Africa today.
DIET: Up to 70% of the adult diet is fish. Other prey items may include zebras, hippos, porcupines, pangolins, and migrating wildebeest.
SOCIALISATION
Crocodiles are gregarious animals. Groups of crocodiles are known as “floats” when in the water, and on lands, groups are referred to as “basks”. The group sizes depend primarily on availability of or abundance of food sources and may range from as few as two crocs to as many as 200 individuals in a group.
REPRODUCTION
Sexual maturity relates to size. Males are mature at about 10 feet at approximately 10 years of age, where as females at about 6.5 feet at approximately 10 years of age.
INCUBATION
• Females nest in November and December on sandy shorelines, dry stream beds, or riverbanks.
• Females lay 25 to 100 eggs in the sand.
• She guards until they hatch 3 months later.
• When young crocodiles are hatching, either parent may help them out of the egg by rolling it between their tongue and palate. This cracks the shell allowing for an easier escape.
LIFE EXPECTANCY = 45 years in the wild, up to 80 years in captivity.
PREDATORS
• Nile crocodiles have no natural predators.
• Outside water, crocodiles can meet competition from other dominant savannah predators, notably lions and leopards

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