Of all the crocodiles, its terrestrial lifestyle and pack-hunting abilities have crowned the Cuban, Crocdylus rhombifer as the most intelligent, at least within the genus. The species is not very big, compared to the saltwater (C. porosus) or Nile (C. niloticus) crocs, but 3.5m (or 11 feet) and 215kg (474lb) is a recorded max for males. The critically-endangered status of its survival has ensured that various colonies have been established at
Gatorland, Florida, and in this case in Sweden, of all unlikely locations.
This croc has been proved to roam in ancient times, on land, over much of the Caribbean and neighbouring lands, killing mammals, fish and turtles. The jumping feeding behaviour is part of its aggressive repertoire and it even dominates its larger cousin, the American crocodile. It doesn’t seem to mind breeding with its cousin however, which creates even more of a threat. In the present, it has such a restricted distribution, it has no effect on any fauna, except very locally. However, zoos keep these animals singly in order to ensure they don’t endanger other animals with their pack-hunting behaviour. One pair, named Castro and Hilary have been kept in Skansen Zoo, Stockholm by zookeeper Jonas Wahlstrom since President Castro gave them to Vladimir Shatalov, a Russian cosmonaut, who had been keeping them in his flat.
That pair have been productive since 1984, even if not developing their pack-hunting skills. At 1.5 years old, the young about to sent to Havana are one metre long with great wide feet. They will eventually be trying out their juvenile instincts in Zapata swamp, one of only 2 locations in which 4000 members of the species remain in the wild. The BBC version of the story, complete with a vid, appeared here, while our articles on such topics ascooperative hunting in the saltwater crocodile can also be viewed, via Tennessee, US.