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Dwarf Crocodile (Osteolaemus tetraspis) Fact Sheet: Diet & Feeding



  • Opportunistic predator (from Riley and Huchzermeyer 2000)
    • Diet varied (Pauwels et al. 2007)
    • Includes a variety of invertebrates and small vertebrates
  • Consume aquatic and terrestrial items (Pauwels et al. 2007; Riley and Huchzermeyer 2000; Waitkuwait 1989)
    • Invertebrates are the primary food source, most studies (Eaton 2010a)
      • Millipedes and beetle larvae commonly consumed in southwestern Gabon (Pauwels et al. 2007)
    • Reptiles, amphibians, and small mammals also taken (Pauwels et al. 2007; Riley and Huchzermeyer 2000; Waitkuwait)
    • Fish commonly consumed (Eaton 2010a)
  • Plant debris often found in stomach contents (Riley and Huchzermeyer 2000)
  • Rocks (from Pauwels et al. 2007)
    • Gastroliths found in stomach content samples
    • Function
      • Not likely to aid in buoyancy
        • Mass suggests an alternative function
      • Possibly assist with food processing
      • May aid against parasites

Animal prey (from Luiselli et al. 1999; Pauwels et al. 2007; Riley and Huchzermeyer 2000; Waitkuwait 1989)

  • Fish
  • Other vertebrates
    • Terrestrial amphibians and reptiles
    • Small mammals
    • Birds
  • Snails
  • Annelid worms
  • Arthropods
    • Millipedes
    • Spiders and scorpions
    • Crabs and shrimp
    • Beetles
    • Cockroaches
    • Katydids
    • Grasshoppers
    • Moths and caterpillars
    • Aquatic insect larvae and tadpoles eaten by hatchlings

Dwarf Crocodile Eating a Crab

dwarf crocodile eating

Dwarf Crocodile (Osteolaemus tetraspis). Image credit: © Mitchell Eaton at IUCN Crocodile Special Interest Group. All rights reserved. Reproduced with permission from the artist.

Page Citations

Eaton (2010a)
Luiselli et al. (1999)
Pauwels et al. (2007)
Riley and Huchzermeyer (2000)
Waitkuwait (1989)

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