Representational image. At Bhitarkanika National Park 3,700 crocodiles were born this year (Pic. Courtesy Twitter/@allplacesmap)
Wildlife enthusiasts from India and Odisha in particular have much to celebrate about as the State’s Bhitarkanika National Park created a record in terms of number of new born crocodiles. A total of 3,700 saltwater crocodiles were in BNP from 122 nests.
In 2021 the number of nests was 84 and 2,500 crocodiles were born.
Over the years there has been an increase in the number of crocodiles born as in 2017 it was 2,500 while in 2018 it was 2,900 and in 2019 and 2020 it was 3,000.
During the nesting period of the reptiles, the Forest officials had imposed a three-month ban – May 1 to July 3 — as the mother crocodiles need peace and quiet during the mating period, informed J.D. Pati, the Divisional Forest Officer.
The nests are made by the female crocodile using leaves, mangrove twigs and mud. They are placed at a high ground to protect the eggs from floodwater of high tide during the rainy season while ensuring that it gets sunlight.
A clutch of 40 to 70 eggs is laid by the female which incubates between 70 to 80 days. Of these 50 per cent hatchlings are born.
Interestingly, the sex of a baby crocodile is determined by the temperature of its egg during the first half of its incubation period. One out of 500 baby crocodiles born only reaches adulthood.