The San Diego Zoo’s first slender-snouted crocodiles came to us from the North Carolina Zoological Park in 2002. Currently, the Zoo is home to two female slender-snouted crocs, Sandra and Rosey. They each respond to their own color-coded target (yes, they see in color!) on the end of a pole. Their keeper goes into the exhibit, stands on the beach, calls the name of the croc, and smacks the target on the surface of the water (a cue that crocodilians easily respond to). Soon, the prehistoric-looking creature silently glides to the surface, springs from the water, and touches her snout to the target. Her reward is a fish.
Look for these ever-smiling crocodiles next to the pygmy hippos in Lost Forest. It looks like they’re in the same exhibit, but never fear—there’s a glass panel to make sure these feisty neighbors remain friendly.
The population of slender-snouted crocs is dwindling, mostly due to hunting for their meat and skin to make leather products such as shoes, belts, purses, and more. The endangered crocs are also losing more of their habitat as people move into their areas, and the increase of humans fishing for the same food that the crocs eat has caused problems for the crocs as well. Because we still know so little about this animal in the wild, more studies need to be done to learn what can be done to help them.
You can help us bring these crocodiles back from the brink by supporting the San Diego Zoo Global Wildlife Conservancy. And you can help all crocodilians by not buying products made from their skin. We think you'll agree the skin looks much better on the crocodile!