Central African Slender Snouted Crocodile

( Kwena (lozi) or ing'wena (bemba) )


General Information

The Central African slender-snouted crocodile (Mecistops leptorhynchus) is one of two species of crocodiles in the same genus. The other being the west African slender snouted crocodile.

Fun Facts!

Slender-snouted crocodiles are one of the crocodilians known to climb trees.
The phrase, “to cry crocodile tears” comes from the fact that they do it to get rid of excess salt and not because they cry out of sadness.


They are medium sized crocodiles that have camouflage dark brown/olive hard and rough scaly skin is covered in scales. It has a long tail for swimming and maneuverability and four small limbs. The underbelly of young crocodiles is yellowish green. They have a slender,long snouts and their nostrils, eyes, and ears are situated on the top of the head, so the rest of the body can remain concealed under water.

Ecology and Behaviour

They are diurnal (more active during the day). Slender snouted crocodiles are said to have a call that sounds like a truck backfiring.


The Central African slender-snouted crocodile is a carnivore and predator and although smaller than the Nile crocodile and because of the shape of its snout it frequently preys on smaller prey that include mainly fish, Insects, crabs, crustaceans, frogs etc. and on the occasional bird or small mammal.


They are less agressive when it comes to defending their hatchlings as compared to the nile crocodile. Breeding season for slender snouted crocodiles generally corresponds with the rainy season, from about March through July. Females build mound nests along riverbanks and lay 13 to 27 eggs on average. Each female will stay near her nest while the eggs incubate.


It is categorized by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) as, “Critically Endangered”

Distribution and Habitat

In Zambia the Central African Slender snouted crocodile can only be found in Luapula in the Bangweulu area. Reptile farms can be an exception. They occur widely in South Central Africa in Cameroon, Equatorial Guinea, Gabon, northern Angola, Central African Republic, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Tanzania and Sudan in East Africa.

Interaction with humans

Humans hunt these crocodiles aggressively for meat and hides and because of this, the slender snouted crocodile have dissapeared in some countries are are critically endagered. The shape of their snout should not fool anyone as they are very dangerous and capable of killing an adult human being.

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