The Mugger is a true crocodile but is one of the most like an alligator of all crocodiles, both in what it looks like as well as how it lives and behaves.
They is a fairly large sized crocodile, and can reach about 15-16 feet in length. Generally the male mugger crocodile will weigh more than the female and be longer.
The mugger crocodile has a very broad snout, which is what primarily gives them the look of an American alligator. Their head is fairly flattened on the top, and the eyes, ears and nostrils are on the same surface. This permits the Mugger crocodile to both see and hear, as well as to small while they are nearly all the way under the water.
The eyes of the mugger crocodile are kept protected by the presence of a third eyelid, which is called a nictitating membrane. This nictitating membrane is crystal clear to permit the crocodile to see and keep the water out of the eye.
The mugger crocodile
Inside their mouths will be about 68 teeth,which is part of what will distinguish the crocodile from an alligator.
Mugger crocodile teeth are aligned perfectly with each other, while those of an alligator are not so, but instead are jagged in growth.
The mugger crocodile, like all crocodilians is an excellent swimmer, and uses his flat tail to propel himself forward in the water. They have webbed feet however these are not used for swimming.
The body of the Mugger Crocodile is well armored by a scaly hide with larger scutes on the neck that look much like the American alligator.
The adult is gray or brown, while the smaller juveniles are about ten inches long and are lighter tan, with bands of black on the tail and the back.
The mugger crocodile is a good traveler even on land and if the pool of fresh water they live is dries up, they will travel a long distance to find more water.
The females begin to breed at about six years of age while the males are not mature enough until about ten years of age.
The female can then breed until she is about thirty years old.
The female will dig a nest in a sloping type bank, deposit her eggs about a month after breeding. She will lay between ten and forty five eggs.
The female does protect the nest and will guard it until the young hatch. When they do, both mother and father will take the young to the water, and they will stay with the parents until about a year old.
Interestingly enough the temperature of the nest is what will determine whether the young are male or female.
If it is about 32.5 C the embryos are all males. Between 28-31C all the animals will be females.
The adults capture large prey, such as fish, turtles, snakes, and sometimes even monkeys, deer and buffalo to eat.
In the early 1800’s there were thought to be many thousands of mugger crocodiles, and the species was common throughout India where it was seen on a daily bases, but hunting and trapping brought the population of Muggers to the brink of extinction. In 1867 the last sighting of a mugger crocodile in Myanmar took place.
In the 1970’s, awareness of the problems for the crocodiles saw new laws enacted and captive breeding brought the wild population up to 5000.