, Volume 391, Issue 1, pp 81-86

First online:

Status of the Nile crocodile in the Sahara desert

  • Klaas de SmetAffiliated withLaboratory of Animal Ecology, University of Ghent

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Middle Holocene remains and rock paintings show that the Nile crocodile (Crocodylus niloticus Laurenti) used to occur across the whole Sahara. It also occurred at the South Mediterranean shores, in swamps and rivers and it may even have been circum-mediterranean. Until the beginning of this century, many permanent waters in the Sahara still housed relict populations. Nowadays, only few specimens survive in pools in few river canyons of the Ennedi plateau (N. Chad), where they are threatened with extinction. Another relict population, in the Tagant hills of Mauretania, was found to be probably extinct in 1996.

Crocodylus niloticus Sahara Biogeography Holocene