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Dwarf Crocodile (Osteolaemus tetraspis) Fact Sheet: Distribution & Habitat


Distribution of the genus

  • Western and Central Africa (from Crocodile Specialist Group 1996)
    • Northernmost populations
      • Southern Guinea-Bissau east to near Yobe, Nigeria
    • Easternmost populations
      • Just east of the Congo River, Democratic Republic of the Congo
      • Unsubstantiated reports of dwarf crocodiles observed in western Uganda (Temple Perkins 1951)
    • Southernmost populations
      • Northern Angola
  • Native countries (from Crocodile Specialist Group 1996)
    • West Africa
      • Benin, Burkina Faso, Cote d’Ivoire, Gambia, Ghana, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Liberia, Nigeria, Senegal, Sierra Leone, Togo
    • Central Africa
      • Angola, Cameroon, Central African Republic, Republic of the Congo, The Democratic Republic of the Congo, Gabon, Equatorial Guinea
  • Distribution of lineages (following ostensible new species designations, from Eaton et al. 2009; Franke et al. 2013; Shirley et al. 2014; Smolensky et al. 2014)
    • O. tetraspis (Central Africa)
      • Gabon, Equatorial Guinea, western Cameroon, Central African Republic, northern Angola, and possibly Liberia
    • O. osborni(Congo River Basin)
      • Democratic Republic of Congo, eastern Republic of the Congo, southeastern Cameroon
    • O. sp. nov (West Africa)
      • Burkina Faso, Cote d’Ivoire, Gambia, western Ghana, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Liberia, Senegal, Sierra Leone
    • Unconfirmed lineage/ESU
      • Nigeria, Benin, Togo, eastern Ghana, Liberia


Smaller rivers and adjacent forests (from Waitkuwait 1989 unless otherwise noted)

  • Within the Senegal, Volta, Niger, Ogooue, and Congo river basins
    • Often found in swampy regions
      • Commonly found in shady waters of periodically flooded forests
      • Occasionally in calm, open water
  • Commonly venture on land into the forest
    • Observed in small pools, often far from a river
      • Found in isolated savanna pools and small pools in perennial forest streams (Eaton 2010a)

Equatorial forest zones (from Waitkuwait 1989)

  • Forest types
    • Tropical forest zones
    • Deciduous and gallery forests
  • Require dense rotting vegetation to construct nests

Distribution Map

Dwarf Crocodile map

Dwarf Crocodile (Osteolaemus tetraspis) Distribution. Adapted from according to IUCN fact sheet. Click here or on map for detailed distribution (IUCN).

Page Citations

Crocodile Specialist Group (1996)
Eaton et al. (2009)
Eaton (2010a)
Franke et al. (2013)
Shirley et al. (2014)
Smolensky et al. (2014)
Waitkuwait (1989)

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