Rare African crocodiles arrive in Scottsdale


by John Blake / 3TV Photojournalist


Posted on April 18, 2012 at 4:46 PM

Updated Wednesday, Apr 18 at 8:43 PM

Map: Rare crocodiles in Scottsdale

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SCOTTSDALE -- Surviving the flight from South Africa -- 16 hours.

Clearing customs -- 10 minutes.

Adjusting to the freshwater of your new Valley home -- timeless.

"These guys -- are real tropical, so even if it gets cold tonight, they're going to stay in the water," says Russ Johnson of the Phoenix Herpetological Society in north Phoenix.

These guys -- are two endangered, slender-snouted crocodiles from the west-central African nation of Gabon on the equator. The crocodiles were at a preserve in Gabon. Financial pressures at the preserve forced the relocation of the animals.

With a permit issued by the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service and the endorsement of the Arizona Game and Fish Department, the animals will bring the total number of crocodilian species on display at PHS’ Scottsdale reptile sanctuary to six.

Johnson said, "These two rare crocodiles will be the beginning of a breeding project with the hopes of the young crocs they produce being placed in zoos around the United States."

The male is about 6 feet long and weighs 150 pounds.

The female is longer -- 7 feet -- and weighs a bit more.

When full-grown, the slender-snouted crocodile reach 10 to 13 feet in length, weight up to 500 pounds, and life for 50 years or more. They typically live in rivers in the deep forest areas of central and western Africa, but they have been found in lakes and along coastlines.

Slender-snouted crocodiles have excellent senses.

The nose, eyes, and ears all line up along the top of the crocs head so they can lie almost completely submerged in the water but still be able to see, smell, and hear everything above the surface.

The unique snout can often act like a pair of tweezers, allowing the crocodiles to remove prey from small holes and crevices.

Both crocs will be on display soon for public viewing and scientific study.

The pair will also get new names.