Saltwater Crocodile Preys on Porcupine – First Recorded Sighting

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Saltwater Crocodiles (Crocodylus porosus) are the most widely distributed species of crocodile in the world. In Sri Lanka, they are found in tidal rivers and marshlands in the coastal wet zone and some areas of the dry zone, and sightings in the Nilwala River have become increasingly common. These reptiles have a broad and varied diet, with juveniles preying on insects, crustaceans, and small fish, while adults prey on larger animals such as monkeys, wild boar and buffalos.

On the 21st November 2015, EFL researcher Dinal Samarasinghe observed a saltwater crocodile with an Indian Porcupine in its jaws while conducting a night boat survey on the Nilwala River. The 2.6m long crocodile had secured the neck of the porcupine in its jaws, and the rest of its body hung outside. Crocodiles generally do not prey on porcupines as the presence of sharp quills can injure them, and there are reports of crocodiles with quills embedded in their jaws.

While Saltwater Crocodiles are the most widely studied species of crocodile, this is the first recorded sighting of one preying on a porcupine and this recorded observation has been published in the Herpetological Review. The sighting was made during a project on mitigating the Human-Crocodile Conflict in the Nilwala River.

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