|New Guinea crocodile|
Temporal range: Plio-Paleocene - Present
|Specimen in Wuppertal Zoo|
| Crocodylus novaeguineae|
|Range shown in green|
C. n. novaeguinea
The New Guinea crocodile (Crocodylus novaeguineae) is a small species of crocodile found on the island of New Guinea where there are two geographically isolated populations to the north and south of the mountain ridge that runs along the centre of the island. In the past it included the Philippine crocodile, C. n. mindorensis, as a subspecies, but today they are regarded as separate species. The habitat of the New Guinea crocodile is mostly freshwater swamps and lakes. It is most active at night when it feeds on fish and a range of other small animals. A female crocodile lays a clutch of eggs in a nest composed of vegetation and she lies up nearby to guard the nest. There is some degree of parental care for newly hatched juveniles. This crocodile was over-hunted for its valuable skin in the mid 20th century, but conservation measures have since been put in place, it is reared in ranches and the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) lists it as being of "Least Concern".
The New Guinea crocodile grows to a length of up to 3.5 m (11 ft) for males and 2.7 m (8.9 ft) for females, although most specimens are smaller. The body ranges from grey to brown in colour, with darker bandings on the tail and body which become less noticeable as the animal grows. Longitudinal ridges in front of the eyes and some granular scales on the back of the neck between four large scales are distinctive features of this species. There are some differences between the northerly and southerly populations in the morphology of the skull and the arrangement of the scales. The snout is pointed and relatively narrow during juvenile stages and becomes wider as the animal matures. The New Guinea crocodile bears a physical similarity to the nearby Philippine crocodile (C. mindorensis) and Siamese crocodile (C. siamensis). The colouring is similar to that of the freshwater crocodile (Crocodylus johnsoni) of northern Australia, but the snout is somewhat shorter and broader.