When mating season arrive, the adults gather together, marking the dominant hierarchy with their raised tails and open jaws in an impressive display of strength.
Today, Cuban crocodiles are found only in two small areas: the Zapata marshes, in the south-west of the Main Island, and the Lanier marshes, on the island of Juventud; and that makes them the crocodiles with the most restricted distribution on the planet. Here in Zapata, the mating season has arrived, and the adults gather together, marking the dominant hierarchy with their raised tails and open jaws in an impressive display of strength.
These displays will decide the order and the right to mate, and no male will give in easily.
With several animals together in the same pool, conflicts between them are inevitable. The threatening mating postures don’t normally have further consequences, but if one of the crocodiles manages to hunt down some prey, the tension of the courtships is compounded by their natural predatory aggressiveness, and war is unleashed among the dragons. Though the combats are spectacular, major wounds are a rare occurrence.
fter a few sporadic confrontations, it is clear who is the dominant male. Now, the pool has its king, and the monarch imposes his rules.
After the combats, the victorious male joins a receptive female. She tempers his aggressiveness by raising her snout as a sign of submission.
Until she manages to calm him down, the excited male could even attack her.
When the male and the female have accepted each other, they mate, reminiscent of a dance, begins. Then, the female dives down, expelling air through her mouth and nose, and the male mounts her in a long copulation which can last for up to fifteen minutes.