The Importance of Crocs
November Knowledge continues on this manic Monday with cool croc facts. An apex predator and a keystone species, crocodilians are crucial to the health and balance of the ecosystem they inhabit. As the apex predator at the top of the food chain, crocs keep our waterways clean scavenging the carcasses of dead animals and fish. They keep populations of their prey healthy by hunting the weaker or sick individuals, this way only stronger prey sources survive and multiply strengthening their population. By hunting certain species, they regulate the population and maintain a healthy balance. If any one species overpopulates, they’ll exhaust their own food supply and could suffer a mass die off as a result or reach population levels where they become a nuisance like our raccoons here on the island.
As a keystone species, crocs effect their entire ecosystem in numerous ways, from the pathways they create through the mangroves to the numerous young they lay. Hatchlings with their 1% survival rate are a food source for an array of different predators like snakes, mammals, predatory birds and fish. Scraps from prey sources left over feed smaller fish and other organisms. Caves and burrows dug by crocs create habitat for other wildlife and the channels created in the mangrove shape the environment for the benefit of all. Gotta love those crocs!