1996 32¢ American Crocodile
Issue Date: October 2, 1996
City: San Diego, CA
Printed By: Ashton-Potter (USA) Ltd
Printing Method: Lithographed
The outlook for the American crocodile is not promising. Loss of habitat, expanding civilization, and hide hunters have all taken their toll, reducing this species’ population to a few hundred.
Often confused with the American alligator, the American crocodile is slightly smaller (although it can grow up to 12 feet in length) with a more tapered, triangular-shaped snout. In addition, the fourth tooth in the lower jaw is more distinct and always visible, even when the mouth is closed. Primarily nocturnal, crocodiles spend much of the day sunning themselves. They prefer brackish, slow-moving, warm water and are often found near swamps and mangrove-lined inlets. At night they move out into creeks and coastal waterways where they prey on fish, crabs, birds, and turtles.
In an effort to stabilize the population, biologists have begun collecting eggs and hatching them in incubators. Once they are able to defend themselves against smaller predators, the young crocodiles are released into the wild. However, they must still survive fierce territorial battles with older crocodiles, and many are hit by cars while taking advantage of the retained heat of nearby roadways. Constant monitoring and increased recovery efforts are the crocodile’s only hope for survival.