Crocodiles in Yala National Park

Never smile at a Sri Lankan Crocodile. Anywhere in Yala National Park where there is water you will find Sri Lankan Crocodiles. You will not at first see them. They will be static and basking in the sunshine. You have to look hard to find them.

Yala National Park Marsh Crocodile

Yala National Park Sri Lankan Mugger or Marsh Crocodiled (Crocodylus palustris) basking in the sun

Just look at the photo in the middle of this page. When you first looked at it did you see all three crocodiles? If they are in the water all you may see are the eyes, nostrils and moving tail. You will find two species of crocodile living in Sri Lanka, the more common Mugger or Marsh Crocodile (Crocodylus palustris) and the larger Saltwater or Estuarine Crocodile (Crocodylus Porossus)

If the crocodile you are looking at has a very wide nose then it is probably a Mugger (Marsh) Crocodile. They can be found in rice field water reservoirs known locally as Tanks. They also inhabit lakes marshes and large rivers. They are a lowland creature and are not normally found over 230m above sea level

The word mugger is a corruption of the Urdu word for water monster 'magar'. Mature adult male Mugger Crocodile males can grow over 4m (13ft), They have been seen to chase game on dry land, especially at night, and walk for long distances to find new water holes.

Marsh Crocodile

Can you see three Yala National Park Sri Lankan Mugger or Marsh Crocodile (Crocodylus palustris)?

The Saltwater (Estuarine) Crocodile also found in Yala can be a monster sized reptile. An adult male can grow up to 6m (19ft) in length and weigh over 1000kg (2,200lbs). It has been observed swimming long distances in saltwater to hunt for new feeding locations. They like lurking around deltas and mangrove swamps. Unlike the Mugger Crocodiles who seem to like to bask in the sun in groups, the Saltwater Croc is usually a solitary creature.

Both species of crocodile are listed as 'threatened' because of poaching, habitat destruction due to building and farming encroachment and food source depletion through competition with local fishermen. Needless to say be very careful when swimming or walking near water in Sri Lanka as humans are considered a food source. They can all run fast on dry land. Any animal that comes down to a river lake or pond is endanger of being seized by a lurking Mugger or Saltwater Croc.

Marsh Crocodile

One big Mugger or Marsh Crocodile (Crocodylus palustris) in Yala National Park - Sri Lankan Crocodile

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