There’s two different types of nests in the crocodile world. Hole nesting, and mound nesting and we see both here in Belize with our two species of crocs. The Morelet’s freshwater croc is a mound nester who will lay 20-40 eggs. The female will scrape together any kind of available vegetation like grass, moss, or leaves into a pile and lay her eggs on the banks not far from the waters edge. The nest is then covered with more vegetation for the incubation period of about 3 months. The female croc will stay close to the nest and guard against predators like raccoons or iguanas, and may even aggressively defend the nest if humans stray too close or try to interfere with her babies before they’ve hatched.
American crocs on the other hand are primarily hole nesters. They need high, soft ground above the water table ideally made of sand or loose dirt. The female may dig a few test holes in the area to test the suitability of the land before she’s ready to lay her eggs which are usually in the ground some time around Easter, and ready to hatch June or July at the onset of rainy season. There have been a few discoveries of American crocodiles adapting to their environment and mound nesting in areas where hole nests would be unsuitable or even impossible. This past hatching season ACES discovered a mound nest on Ambergris Caye made by an American croc in an area where development has changed the surrounding environment so much, digging into the hard ground was a physical impossibility.
Below is a picture of a typical hole nest. It doesn’t look like much, but there could be as many as 70 eggs buried under the sand.