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Saturday, 3-Mar-2007 07:07 Email | Share | Bookmark
Iranian Crocodiles Part 1 , Fotos by Dr Ahmadi

Bahukalat River, Sistan& baluchestan Province
The Mugger Crocodile (Crocodylus palustris), also called the Iranian, Marsh, or Persian Crocodile (in Persian گاندو Gandu), is found throughout the Indian subcontinent and the surrounding countries (India, Pakistan; in Pakistan's coastal regions of the Makran and delta marshlands of Sindh it is known as the Indus Crocodile, however they do exist in parts of Bangladesh, and parts of Nepal and Iran). The name Mugger comes from its name Magar Macchh in the Hindi language. The scientific name of the mugger crocidile means 'of the marshes'.

Mugger crocodiles have: 19 upper teeth on each side. Snout 1 1/3 to 1 1/2 as long as broad at the base; head rough but without any ridges; mandibular symphysis extending to the level of the fourth or fifth tooth; pne-maxillo-maxillary suture, on the palate, transverse, nearly straight, or curved forwards; nasal bones separating the pnemaxillaries above. Four large nuchals forming a square, with a smaller one on each side; two pairs of smaller nuchals on a transverse series behind the occiput. Dorsal shield well separated from the nuchal, the scutes usually in 4, rarely in 6, longitudinal series, those of the two median usually considerably broader than long; 16 or 17 transverse series. Scales on limbs keeled. Fingers webbed at the base; outer toes extensively webbed. A serrated fringe on the outer edge of the leg. Adult blackish olive above: young pale olive, dotted and spotted with black. The largest specimen in the British Museum measures 12 feet, but individuals are said to grow much larger

Almost restricted to the Indian subcontinent the Mugger or marsh crocodile can be found in India, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Pakistan, Nepal, the southern tip of Iran and probably in Indo-China. This crocodile is the most common in India, far out numbering the much larger saltwater crocodile within the country (and most likely within neighboring countries). The Mugger is the only crocodilian found in Iran and Pakistan

Mainly a freshwater species, the Mugger crocodile is found in lakes, rivers and marshes. Muggers prefer slow-moving, shallower bodies of water rather than, fast-flowing, deep areas. Also known to thrive in man-made reservoirs and irrigation canals. Although it prefers freshwater, it has some tolerance to saltwater therefore is occasionally reported from saltwater lagoons. It is sympatric with the gharial (Gavialis gangeticus) in some areas of India, but separated by habitat most of the time. It is adapted to terrestrial life like its cousin, the Cuban Crocodile, more than most crocodilians. It is known to be more mobile on land, can migrate considerable distances over land in search of a more suitable habitat. It can chase prey on land for short distances. They are also known to dig burrows as shelters during the dry seaons
Being a large carnivorous reptile, it eats fish, other reptiles and small and large mammals. In fact, most vertebrates that approach to drink are potential prey, and may suffer being seized and dragged into the water to be drowned and devoured at leisure. Attacks on humans are very rare, but not unheard of, as a child was killed by a Mugger crocodile in Iran during early 2006.

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