Physical description: The muzzle of the dwarf crocodile is broad, blunt, and short; hence the name “Broadfronted.” It measures at about 1.20 meters in length; however, some have reached lengths of 1.50-1.80 meters. The dwarf crocodile gets its name because it is the smallest of all crocodiles. With the largest crocodile reaching lengths of 27 feet and weigh up to a ton, it is easy to see how a crocodile of about 3 feet could be dubbed “dwarf.”
Alligators and crocodiles are easily confused and exhibit several major physical differences. Alligators have broader heads and blunter snouts. Their lower teeth fit inside the edge of the upper jaw and cannot be seen when the lipless mouth is closed. The crocodile’s fourth tooth in each side of the lower jaw is located lying in a notch in the upper jaw and is always visible. The teeth are used for seizing and holding prey instead of for chewing. They are replaced continuously as new ones grow up, forcing old ones out.
Like all crocodiles, the dwarf has rigid teeth and tough scales, which cover the body. During early years of existence, the dwarf crocodile is yellow with a brown tint. The infant dwarf crocodile also has black spots on its belly and back. However, with age, the dwarf crocodile grows to resemble other forms of crocodiles in color. By maturity, the dwarf crocodile is dark brown or black. The scales become harder and the bony palates that protect the back are more dense.
RANGE: West Africa