image of Crocodilians
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This chapter provides the need-to-know information on crocodilians:

  • Biology
  • Husbandry
  • Handling and restraint
  • Diagnostic approach
  • Common conditions
  • Supportive care
  • Anaesthesia and analgesia
  • Common surgical procedures
  • Euthanasia
  • Drug formulary.

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13.1 Crocodilians are not recommended as pets. Some species that may be encountered by veterinary surgeons include: American alligator and spectacled caiman.
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13.3 Lateral radiograph of a dwarf caiman. Note the presence of the osteoderms (bony plates) within the scales.
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13.4 Adaptations to an aquatic life. Crocodilian nares are kept tightly closed except during inhalation and exhalation . The openings to the ears are covered by the auricular flap. The opaque third eyelid covers the eye during diving.
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13.5 The oral cavity of an adult American alligator. Note: the large sharp white teeth; the gular flap at the back of the throat; the large relatively immobile tongue; and the wide powerful gape.
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13.6 Crocodilians can be sexed by palpating the cloaca.
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13.8 Restraint. Holding a juvenile saltwater crocodile, with jaws taped. (Courtesy of C. Johnson-Delaney.) Medium to large crocodilians may be restrained on boards with straps to allow transport and minor diagnostic procedures.
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13.10 Cachexia in crocodilians is indicated by prominent supertemporal fossae , obvious pelvic bones and a narrow neck .
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13.11 Blood collection from the supravertebral sinus. After disinfecting the skin, the depression behind the skull is palpated and the needle inserted in the midline and advanced until blood is aspirated.
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13.12 The ventral coccygeal vessels can be accessed from the ventrolateral surface of the tail.
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13.15 An oesophageal tube is used for repetitive enteral feeding and drug administration in anorectic crocodilians.
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