Meet Colgate, the croc with the toothy white grin!

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While the 90-year-old Nile crocodile, Colgate, is a veritable youngster compared to his 122-year-old friend, Henry, Crocworld Conservation Centre’s second-biggest croc is an impressive site to behold, and a character many visitors love to meet – from afar, of course!

“We’re fortunate at Crocworld to have not one, but two of the world’s most impressive Nile crocodiles in captivity!” commented Wade Kilian, Reptile Curator at Crocworld Conservation Centre in Scottburgh on the mid-KZN South Coast. “Colgate was brought to the centre in 1985 from Botswana’s Okavango Delta, and we estimate his age to be 90 because of his size and condition.”

Kilian said that, because crocodilians are considered the ‘ultimate survivors’ and some of the oldest known species on the planet, many people don’t realise just how threatened they are, and the importance of protecting and learning from animals like Colgate.

“Crocodiles are apex predators, which means they play an important role in the ecosystem, helping to prevent habitat degradation by overpopulation, and regulating populations of their preferred prey species,” he explained. “Over the past 38 years, many visitors have learnt more about crocodilians by visiting the centre and meeting Colgate, and we’re excited his role at Crocworld ensures many future generations will be educated in conservation.”

5 fun facts about Crocworld’s Colgate

1.  Colgate is an adult male Nile crocodile who resides at Pen 9, Crocword Conservation Centre, Scottburgh, KZN South Coast with his 36 wives (with whom he has fathered many, many crocodilians over the years!).

2.  At 4.8m long and 650kgs in mass, Colgate is the second most impressive crocodile at the centre, and one of the largest Nile crocodiles in captivity worldwide.

3.  Colgate earned his name from his endearing smile showing pearly white teeth that are accentuated by his darker appearance.

4.  His colour is assumed to be a result of hyper-melanism, a genetic trait which results in an increased concentration of melanin in visual carriers – but it would take a dedicated long-term breeding project to prove this theory.

5.  Colgate’s temperament can be described as confident but aloof. He is not shy to throw his weight around at feeding time, but is often quick to slip into one of his ponds at his slightest suspicion of what he perceives as impending danger.

Crocworld Conservation Centre, a member of global conservation NPO, Species360, is dedicated to wildlife education and the conservation of many endangered animal species. To learn more about Crocworld’s conservation efforts or to visit Colgate and his many friends, visit www.crocworld.co.za, ‘Crocworld Conservation Centre’ on Facebook or call 039 976 1103. Contact Fish Eagle Café, call 083 658 7073 or email mvanzyl@cbl.co.za.