This species of Crocodile has a wide distribution. Due to this many subspecies have been suggested. This Crocodile is absent from areas north of the Sahara Desert and from the far south of South Africa. It is also present in Madagascar. There are currently seven subspecies recognized and these are Crocodylus niloticus niloticus
, Crocodylus niloticus africanus
, Crocodylus niloticus chamses
, Crocodylus niloticus cowiei
, Crocodylus niloticus madagascariensis
, Crocodylus niloticus pauciscutatus
and Crocodylus niloticus suchus
. Some specimens from more arid areas brumate in deep burrows during the dry season.
Nile Crocodiles tend to average around 5m (16½ft) in length, however 6m (20ft) individuals are still said to occur occasionally. Due to its large size this species is really not suitable for maintenance outside of zoos.
Juvenile Nile Crocodiles eat mainly small fish, amphibians, crustaceans, insects and snails. Adults are opportunistic and will eat large mammals, birds, fish, crustaceans, reptiles, etc and carrion.
Therefore the captive diet for adults should be kept as varied as possible. This can include; various types of fish, rats, rabbits, chickens, turkeys, crabs, raw beef, piglets, etc.
Nile Crocodiles have been known to attack and kill humans in the wild, due to this reason captive specimens should only be maintained in zoological displays.
- Heat Source:- This can be either reflector spot lights in green or red. Ceramic or tubular heaters can also be used dependant on the size of the enclosure. AHS Heaters can be used to maintain background temperature in some of the larger enclosures.
- UV Light Source:- Nile Crocodiles require a Reptisun 10.0 UVB lamp. The new UV powerbulbs are also excellent for this purpose. This should be left on for 12 to 14 hours a day and replaced every 6 months unless otherwise stated by the manufacturer. These should be positioned no more than 2ft away from the basking reptile. This will create a day and night time effect as well as give your crocodile sufficient levels of UV.
- Housing:- A securely locked enclosure is required. A converted room is often a good solution. The land area available to your Nile Crocodile must be at least twice the animal’s length. With a large water area for the Nile Crocodile to submerge itself and move in without too much difficulty.
- Thermostat:- An essential part of every enclosure and is required to regulate the internal temperatures of the enclosure and to prevent your pet from becoming too hot or too cold.
- Wire Mesh Guards:- These should be fitted over all heat sources used in order to prevent thermal burns.
- Thermometers:- One should be placed at each end of the enclosure in order to give an accurate reading of the temperatures within the enclosure. Never go by the temperature on the thermostat as these are often inaccurate.
- Hides:- These are essential to prevent stress and allow your crocodilian to hide away from the outside world. Care should be taken not to position then near entrances to allow the keepers easy and safe access to and from the enclosure.
A fitted pond is the best option for this species, it is best to have a Drain/plug or an external tap fitted for ease of cleaning. A strong filtration unit must also be fitted in the pond, it is best to have this boxed in to prevent the Crocodile damaging it. It is best for the filtration system to have exterior access as well to reduce need to enter enclosure.
This species requires a basking area of up to 35C (95F), with a background temperature of 25C (77F). At night the temperature may be allowed to drop to 21C (69F).
Specimens have been known to live in excess of 50 years, given the correct husbandry some have been known to out live this.
A concrete substrate should never be used as the sole substrate, as this is one of the principal causes of pedal dermatitis in crocodilians. Substrates of river sand and pea gravel mixtures are best for this species.
NB – A dangerous Wild Animals License is currently required in order to keep this species, your local Environmental Health Officer at the council will be able to give you more information. It is best to contact DEFRA as to what paperwork is required.
NB – Distribution map taken from http://www.flmnh.ufl.edu/cnhc/csp_cnil.htm
Photograph taken from http://www.flmnh.ufl.edu/cnhc/csp_cnil.htm
Recommended Reading/Useful Contacts
Stuart Dodsworth – firstname.lastname@example.org
The International Herpetological Society – www.international-herp-society.co.uk
The British Herpetological Society – www.thebhs.org
Taxonomy Information – http://srs.embl-heidelberg.de:8000/srs5bin/cgi-bin/wgetz?-e+[REPTILIA-Species:'Crocodylus_SP_niloticus
DEFRA – (0117) 3728671
Local Environmental Health Officer at The Council