• chrissummers06

Chameleon Crocs

It’s day 13 of November Knowledge cool croc facts.... and this really is a cool one.... Did you know certain species of crocodile can change their skin color? I didn’t, not until 5 months ago when we placed an extremely emaciated juvenile croc into one of our rehab ponds to nurse back to health.

When you look at adult crocs it’s hard to imagine why they’d need to change color, they’re an apex predator and very few critters will mess with a fully grown croc, although the extra camouflage will help when stalking and ambushing prey. The same can’t be said for hatchlings and juvenile crocs who are preyed on by numerous predators and need to rely on every tactical advantage.

Crocodiles colors do not change as drastically as a chameleon for example, they change their skin color and pattern from lighter to darker and vice versa with the pattern on the skin remaining the same. According to the researchers who had previously documented this incredible phenomenon, the color changes according to what the croc sees, and in studies a croc blindfolded who was then transferred to a lighter or darker environment did not change color without the visual stimuli.

Below you can see the drastic change in color as a result of the different environments. On the night of the capture, he was found in an area with very light colored mud and sand before being placed into the juvenile rehab pond constructed with black edpm pond liner.

I’ve got to tell you, until we saw this we I had no idea they could change color like that. We put the 2 pictures side by side to compare weight gain and were shocked by the major color difference! If that’s not a cool croc fact I don’t know what is!

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American Crocodile Education Sanctuary

PO Box 9, San Pedro Town, Ambergris Caye, Belize, Central America

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ACES is a Non-Profit Organization founded by Wildlife Behaviorist & Croc Wrangler, Vince Rose, & Research Biologist, Cherie Chenot-Rose ~ Belize