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Tom Seest

June 15, 2023

Are There Crocodiles In The Ocean In Cozumel?


Are there crocodiles in the ocean in Cozumel?

Cozumel is a beautiful island in the Caribbean Sea, off the coast of Mexico. It is famous for its coral reefs, beaches, and wildlife. But did you know that Cozumel is also home to hundreds of crocodiles?

What Types of Crocodiles Are in Cozumel?

There are two types of crocodiles residing in Cozumel:
  1. The American crocodile (Crocodylus acutus)
  2. Morelet’s crocodile (Crocodylus moreletii)
Morelet’s crocodile is commonly known as the Mexican crocodile.
American crocodiles are light grey and have a narrower snout, while Mexican crocs are darker in color, much smaller, and have a wider snout. Over the years, they’ve cross-bred, and it isn’t easy to distinguish one from the other. They can reach up to 20 feet (6 meters) long and weigh up to 2,000 lbs (900 kg), although the Mexican variety is generally smaller.
Both species can swim about 20 mph (32 km/h) and also run on land, for a short time, at ten mph (16 km/h). Their breeding season is in late fall/early winter. Females dig and build nests in which they will lay 30 – 70 eggs. During the 75 – 80 day incubation period, both parents will guard the nests. Both the American and the Mexican crocodiles found here on the island are considered much less aggressive than the Australian or Nile crocodiles.

Where To Find Crocodiles In Cozumel?

Cozumel crocodiles are shy creatures that rarely leave the brackish lagoons and mangroves in the far north and south of the island. They prefer warm water and feed mainly at night on fish, crabs, other marine species, and sometimes birds too.
Although globally a “vulnerable” species, in parts of Cozumel, they thrive due to the protection of their habitat and lack of hunting. Here in Cozumel, both species are protected by law, and they are generally found at both the northern and southern ends of the island, especially in the wetlands and mangroves of Punta Sur Park.

Are Crocodiles Dangerous To Humans In Cozumel?

Crocodiles are wild animals and should be respected and observed from a safe distance. They are not naturally aggressive towards humans, but they may defend themselves if they feel threatened or provoked. They may also mistake humans for prey if they are hungry or curious.
There have been some reports of crocodile attacks on humans in Mexico, but they are very rare and usually involve people who enter their territory or disturb their nests. In Cozumel, there have been no fatal attacks on humans by crocodiles, but there have been some incidents of bites or scratches by small or young crocodiles that were captured or handled by locals or tourists.
The best way to avoid any conflict with crocodiles is to stay away from their habitat and not feed them or try to touch them. If you see a crocodile in the ocean or on the beach, do not panic and keep your distance. Do not swim or snorkel near mangroves or lagoons where they may live. If you encounter a crocodile on land, do not run away but back away slowly while facing it. If you are attacked by a crocodile, try to fight back by hitting its eyes or nose.

How To See Crocodiles Safely In Cozumel?

If you want to see these amazing reptiles in their natural environment, you can visit Cozumel’s Punta Sur park on a guided Jeep Tour or Dune Buggy Tour. There you can observe them from a safe platform or boardwalk over the lagoon. You can also learn more about their biology and conservation at the park’s museum.
Cozumel’s crocodiles are an important part of the island’s ecosystem and culture. They deserve our respect and protection. By following some simple rules and precautions, you can enjoy Cozumel’s wildlife without harming it or yourself.

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