Updated: Jul 13, 2020
The crocodile first appeared in the fossil record in the Paleocene – 65 million years ago. The American Crocodile, Crocodylus acutus, which we find here in Ixtapa, appeared in Latin American fossil records from the Plio-Pleistocene era, some 2 million years ago. Native it is! The crocs among us today qualify as living dinosaurs.
To see these pre-historic carnivorous reptiles, up close – yet safely, head to the bridge near Playa Linda and walk out on the viewing platform. To see their fascinating skeletons, or hold a baby croc and learn more about their breeding and nesting behaviors, take a ride or tour out to El Refugio de Potosi on the way to Barra de Potosi.
This species is one of the largest of the world’s crocodiles, and is considered in danger of extinction due to human predation and loss of habitat. When you see the numbers of crocs in Ixtapa you may find this hard to believe. There are no reliable census studies of crocodiles in Mexico, and Ixtapa authorities only recently discovered that tourists enjoy getting a look at these amazing creatures.
Crocodiles are easily distinguished from their more aggressive cousins the alligators by their grayish green color, their narrow tapered triangular snout, and when their mouths are closed, their exposed fourth tooth. They prefer coastal, brackish, and salt-water habitats while alligators prefer fresh water. They tend to flee rather than fight when confronted by their only predator – man.