Jamaican Crocodile
Are they harmless?

The Jamaican Crocodile is a famous tourist attractor in the southern coast of the island, especially Black River.

Every year, tourists travel to the southern part of Jamaica with the main interest of spotting one of these infamous reptiles.

The crocodile’s popularity is present on the Jamaican coat of arm, which can be found on our currency.

My Jamaican Crocodile Sign

The American crocodile is a reptile found in coastal wetlands of tropical America, Florida, the Cayman Islands, Cuba and Hispaniola as well as Jamaica.

Crocodiles are among the world’s oldest living animals; they coexisted with the dinosaurs. However, while dinosaurs and others have become extinct, the crocodile continues to survive, providing one of the few remaining links with our earlier past.

In Jamaica, it is often mistaken as an alligator, which it resembles but, which does not exist on the island.

The chief superficial difference between the two is that the alligator has a short head with a blunt flat snout while the crocodile has a long tapering snout.

The confusion between the two creatures goes way back in Jamaica’s history, for one of the earliest laws decreed that the island’s coat of arms should have an alligator for the crest.

The alligator is also enshrined in tales, sayings, and proverbs, such as “nuh cuss alligator long mout till you cross river,” and in the place named alligator pond.

Crocodiles are found mainly in Hellshire, the Mangrove swamps of the south coast and the Black River, where they can be seen by visitors on boat tours.

Their main diet is fish. They will lie quite still for long periods with only their eyes and nostrils showing and can also capture unwary birds and mammals.

They were once numerous but over the years, their numbers have been much reduced in numbers though illegal hunting and loss of habitat.

Some of these illegal hunters have resorted to selling this poisonous meat for consumption. At a few restaurants, you will see “crocodile meat” on the menu.

Since 1971, they have been protected by the wildlife law. They are potentially dangerous, and may attack only if they are provoked; especially at their nesting sites.

Quite a few photos and videos of Jamaican crocodiles are posted online, mainly by tourists to the island.

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