Friday, 2 June, 1995

An elderly man was attacked and killed by a Cuban crocodile (Crocodylus rhombifer) while spear-fishing in the Zapata Swamp. The man was partially consumed by the crocodile.

Location data

Latitude: 22.387100000000
Longitude: -81.577500000000

Incident details

Outcome: Fatal
Victim Age:
Sex: Male
Activity Detail: Spear-fishing
Witnessed: Unknown
Overall Quality of Report
Date of Incident Date Precision
Species Certainty
Cuban Crocodile Certain
Size (metres) Size Precision
Location scale Location accuracy
  • Precise Lat/Lon given
  • Waterbody (eg, river name)
  • District (common name for an area)
  • Province (or State)
  • Country

About the crocodilian

Cuban Crocodile

The Cuban crocodile is a medium-sized (usual maximum size of 3.5 m/11.5 ft, historical records of larger animals) critically endangered species endemic to Cuba and currently restricted to only two areas within the country (the Zapata Swamp on the Cuban mainland and the Lanier Swamp on Isla de Juventud). Evidence suggests that the species was also present within the Cayman Island and the Bahamas during historic times. The species prefers freshwater habitat (e.g. swamps) but may also tolerate saline habitat to some degree. The Cuban crocodile is surprisingly terrestrial for a crocodile and has adapted to hunting on land to some degree. In addition, the species is a well-documented "jumper" and may use this ability to catch arboreal prey species. The diet of adults includes fish, turtles and small mammals; during historic times the species may have preyed upon now-extinct giant ground sloths (hence the terrestrial adaptation). Cuban crocodiles have a notorious reputation in captivity as being aggressive and unpredictable, but only one fatal attack on human has been recorded in recent times (although it is possible others have gone unreported). The extremely restricted distribution of the species suggests that it is unlikely to come into contact with humans enough to be responsible for a high number of attack. Cuban crocodiles are currently threatened by the severe limitations of their distribution, hybridization with the sympatric American crocodile (jeopardizing genetic purity) and, on Isla de Juventud, competition with the introduced spectacled caiman. 

Crocodylus rhombifer

About this record

Last Updated Contributor Incident Link Node Item GUID FKID
2013-10-22 23:00 100-3862 3862