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Bhitarkanika park in Odisha welcomes 3,000 saltwater baby crocodiles

Times of India, Delhi, 23th August 2014


Around 3,000 saltwater crocodiles were born recently at Bhitarkanika National Park in Kendrapada district, said its divisional forest officer (DFO) Kedar Kumar Swain on Friday. About two months ago, forest officials had sighted 68 nesting sites of the estuarine crocodiles in nullahs, creeks and rivulets across the Bhitarkanika river system. There were 50 to 60 eggs in a nest and around 45 hatchlings have been born from each nest, he said, adding that an infant crocodile uses a small "egg tooth" at the end of its snout to break out of the shell. In some cases, the mother eases birth by cracking the egg-shell with her teeth.


She also guards her offspring after they have hatched and allows them to climb onto her body and head. Female crocodiles are aggressive towards intruders during this time. Nevertheless, baby crocodiles are vulnerable to predators during this high-risk stage of their life cycle, he said. "Of 500 babies, only one crocodile will reach adulthood," said Sudhakar Kar, a noted crocodile expert and former senior research officer with the state's forest and wildlife department.