Cleo & Patra the Nile Crocodiles
Cleo and Patra the Nile crocodiles arrived at the Alexandria Zoo in May 2006. Both crocodiles are female, and were born in 2000. In May 2008, the Nile crocodile exhibit opened at the Alexandria Zoo. The exhibit was a renovation of the old koi pond and features two large glass viewing windows, allowing visitors to get nose to nose with these powerful reptiles. Nile crocodiles are the largest of the three species of crocodile found in Africa, and the second largest crocodile in the world. These imposing reptiles can reach up to 20 feet and can weigh up to 1,650 pounds.
Cleo and Patra spend a lot of time during the summer basking in the sun next to the front viewing window or cooling off in their pond. Some days they can also be seen resting on top of the fountain in their exhibit.
On the Menu
The Nile crocodile is an apex predator and can eat up to half its body weight at a feeding. Its diet consists mainly of fish, but will eat just about anything that crosses its path, including zebras, antelope, hippos, and warthogs.
At the Zoo, Cleo and Patra are fed meat and chicken every Sunday from March through October. Nile crocodiles are ectothermic, meaning their body temperature varies with the temperature of their surroundings, and they cannot regulate their own body heat. Warmth optimizes a crocodile's metabolism, and when temperatures drop, crocodiles do not consume as much food. During winter months, crocodiles stop eating almost entirely because the colder temperatures hinder their digestion.
During the mid 1900s, populations of the Nile crocodile neared extinction due to hunting for leather and meat. Through conservation efforts these reptiles have made a comeback, but they remain threatened due to illegal hunting, pollution and habitat loss.
Click here to learn more about Nile crocodiles.