Habitat destruction and being hunted for their meat are the African dwarf crocodiles’ main threats. In the Congo alone, tens of thousands of these small crocodiles are sold for food at local markets each year.

Conservation Status

Source: IUCN

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You can find this animal in
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Important Facts

Catching some rays

Crocodiles are cold-blooded, which means they rely on outside forces to maintain their body temperature. They bask in the sun when they are cool and seek out shade when they get too hot.

Conservation connections

Their small size and non-aggressive nature make dwarf crocodiles one of the most hunted crocodiles because they are easy to catch and transport. Although these crocodiles are sold for food in local markets,  their hides are of relatively poor quality, so commercial hunting isn’t a serious problem.

Let me out

Female dwarf crocodiles make nests from mounds of vegetation where they lay clutches of about 10 hard-shelled eggs. They closely guard their nests and the babies, once they are born. As soon as they  hatch, baby crocodiles make sounds to let their moms know they need help getting out of the nest.

At a Glance

Scientific Name

Osteolaemus tetraspis


1.9 m (6.2 ft) [length]


Conservation Status



Swamps and swamp forests, prefers slow-moving bodies of water, through West and Central Africa.


Carnivore. African dwarf crocodiles are aquatic predators, feeding on fi sh in the wet season and crustaceans in the dry season.