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Monday, August 31, 2009

Wildlife- Marsh Crocodile (May 19, 1983)

The Marsh Crocodile belongs to the great group of reptiles and dwells in marshy areas. The Marsh Crocodile of Indus is distinguished by its short snout as compared to the Nile Crocodile which has a broad and long projecting nose.
It is seen coming out of water at sunrise and basking near the bank to keep the body temperature within the fine limits and avoid extremes of temperature. It is usually tIow moving but despite its bulky body and short legs it gains unexpected speed. While walking it lifts its body well off the ground on its legs. When dashing into the water the crocodile slides on its belly, using its legs as paddles. The young crocodile occasionally galrops along with the front and beck legs working together. While floating, the crocodiles show their eyes and nostrils. They carry several pounds of stones in their stomach to balance the centre of gravity.
Young crocodiles upto the age of one year relish small animals like frogs, dragon-flies, Crabs and even mosquito larvae. With the growth in age its diet turns from insects to snails and fish. Th. adult crocodile continues to catch fish but turns to large-scale trapping of birds and mammals. For this purpose, they wait near game trails or water holes. As soon as the victim approaches, the crocodile seizes and drags it under water or knocks it over with a blow from its tail or head. Once the victim is pulled into the water, it almost ceases to struggle and the crocodile than groups its limb. in its laws and rolls It over and over end dismembers the parts of the victim’s body. The crocodiles are also man eaters. In Africa they are not regarded as a menace. It seems that crocodiles are more aggressive when the streams or pools dry up or when they are guarding their young.
The female lays upto 90 eggs during the dry season. They hatch four months later during the rainy season when there are plenty of insects for their babies to feed on. The Marsh Crocodiles dig two feet deep for their nests near water and shade, where the female can guard her brood and keep herself cool. During the incubation period, she stays by the nests defending it against enemies which include other crocodiles. The baby crocodiles grunt before hatching, alarming the mother to uncover the nest. The babies climb out and stay near her mother and yap if get lost.
The Crocodiles are protected under the Law in Pakistan. In the Province of Sind it is declared ‘Protected’ under the Sind Wildlife Protection Ordinance. Its killing, trapping or dealing in its skins or the products thereof are illegal under the law and punishable with fine or imprisonment or both. The Sind Government have also approved of a project for captive breeding of Crocodiles, rearing them and ultimately releasing them in their original habitat. Pakistan Post Office is issuing a stamp of Rs. 3/- denomination depicting Marsh Crocodile (Crocodilus palustris) on 19 May, 1983. It is a part of series on Wildlife stamps being issued by Pakistan Post Office to focus world attention on preservation of Wildlife. Earlier issues on Wildlife include a set of two stamps on (i) Black Partridge (30th September, 1975), (ii) Urial (31st December, 1975), (iii) Peacock (31st March, 1976), iv) lbex (12th July, J976), (v) a set of four stamps depicting four rare varieties of Pheasants, namely, Monal, White crested Kalij, Koklas and Cheer (17th June, 1979), (vi) Green Turtle (20th June, 1981), (vii) Western Tragopan (15th September, 1981), (viii) The Blind lndus Dolphin (24th April,, 1982) and (Ix) four Butterflies namely, Papilio polyctor, Polydorus aristolchiae, Danaus chrysippus and Papilio demoleus (15th January, 1983).