Short Communication

Identification of the Nile crocodile Crocodylus niloticus by the use of natural tail marks

D.G.J. Swanepoel
Koedoe | Vol 39, No 1 | a287 | DOI: | © 1996 D.G.J. Swanepoel | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 06 August 1996 | Published: 06 August 1996

About the author(s)

D.G.J. Swanepoel,, South Africa

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The tail marks of 190 Nile crocodiles Crocodylus niloticus were documented and processed into codes. The size of the crocodiles varied from 45 cm to 4.6 m in total length. Wherever possible, both sides of the tails were observed and the marks documented. In all remaining instances only one side could be identified. A total of 267 sides were identified. The natural marks on nine segments of a specific portion of the tail was recorded and compared as codes. For this comparison two methods were employed. Differences of 95.1 and 100 was found with the respective methods. This is an indication that every crocodile has a unique pattern of natural marks on its tail. The marks can therefore be used to allocate a code to an individual crocodile that partially eliminates the necessity of artificial marking methods.


tail markings, segments, codes, crocodile, Kruger National Park.


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