Brief SummaryRead full entry
The small, non-aggressive, freshwater Siamese crocodile (Crocodylus siamensis) is among the most endangered of the 14 extant crocodile species, and one of the four crocodile species listed as Critically Endangered by the IUCN. Historically native across almost all of Southeast Asia to as far south as Java, the Siamese crocodile is now thought to live functionally in the wild only in Cambodia. Cox, Frazier and Maturbongs (1993) indicate identification of the species existing in Indonesian Borneo, where it is known by the local name of black batas crocodile (buaya batas hitam) but the current status in Indonesia is unknown. A small population is known in Laos. Threats to the Siamese crocodile include long-standing habitat destruction (which started 100 years ago with development of wetland for rice paddies), overhunting, drowning in fishing nets, and collection for crocodile farms. These threats have contributed to highly fractionated, mostly nonbreeding wild populations.
Although the ecology and biology of this species is poorly studied, C. siamensis is known to live in swamps, lakes and other slow-moving freshwater bodies, perhaps also inhabiting brackish waters. In captivity, the species matures at 10 years of age. Adult males grow to 3 meters (10 feet) long. Females guard a nest containing about 20-50 eggs laid in the wet season (April-May) and may perhaps also care for the young after hatching, although this is unknown. Feeding habits in the wild are also not well known, but the broad shape of their snout suggests they are generalist carnivores with a diet rich in fish, as well as a range of other vertebrate families and invertebrates; analysis of dung samples supports this.
Little information exists to understand the biology or distribution of depleted species. Siamese crocodiles, however, are successfully bred in captivity. Farms in Thailand export Siamese alligator products and have released pure-bred individuals back to the wild. Other reintroductions have occured, for example in Laos in 2011 a nest of wild eggs was found and the eggs brought to the Laos zoo. In collaboration with the Lao PDR government and World Conservation Society, nineteen individuals were raised and released back into a Laos wetland near the nest site in 2013 when they were 19 month old. Monitoring of these continues.
(Britton 2009; Cox, Frazier and Maturbongs 1993; WCS 2013; Thorbijarnarson, Photitay and Hedemark, 2004; Temsiripong, Ratanakorn and Kullavanijaya 2004; Simpson and Han 2004)