Osteolaemus – Dwarf crocodiles

Smallest of crocodiles with broad snouts native to Central-West Africa

African dwarf crocodiles once assumed to be a single species, are now believed to represent two separate species. More than 20 million years ago, dwarf crocodiles split from their closest cousins, the slender-snouted crocodiles. They rarely grow longer than 1.5 meters (4.9 ft).

They live in west African mangrove swamps, rainforests, slow-moving rivers, and streams and sleep most of the day. Dwarf crocodiles are one of the most prolific sources of bushmeat found throughout the region in terms of weight and are severely impacted by local people’s hunting for meat and commerce. Loss of habitat is another problem facing both species.