REPTILES & AMPHIBIANS
Home to the second largest breeding population of Nile Crocodile in South Africa
Recorded Reptile Species
Recorded snake species
Recorded amphibian species
Statistics may not be completely accurate, are constantly changing and are dependent on ever changing ecosystems.
Statistics are based on the whole St Lucia estuarine system located within iSimangaliso Wetland Park.
The St Lucia estuarine system is home to the second largest breeding population of Nile Crocodile in South Africa, one of the last two remaining viable breeding populations in the country. There are at least 1 200 crocodiles found in the St Lucia estuarine system alone and is an important predator within aquatic systems in the area.
Nile crocodiles will feed on fish, birds such as Pelicans, and wildlife such as monkeys, buck, hippos and other Nile crocodiles.
Crocodilians must regulate their own body temperature and thus prefer laying in warm water or bask during cool winter months. They avoid overheating by retreating to deeper, cooler water.
Nile crocodiles lay their eggs during November to December, with eggs hatching from January to March. When the eggs hatch, the mother (and sometimes the father) of the hatchlings, will assist them by picking them up with her jaws and carrying them to the water.
Up until 1970, crocodiles in the St Lucia estuarine system were killed for skins and for the safety of humans. Numbers of Nile crocodile were restored by Tony Pooley in the 70’s, also the founder of the St Lucia Crocodile Center. The center is now dedicated to the conservation of the Nile crocodile through research, breeding and education.
Nile Crocodile (Crocodylus niloticus)
Crocodile basking on the banks of St Lucia Estuary
With 53 recorded species of snakes in the area, one should always be cautious when using self-guided trials around St Lucia. Examples of venomous snakes in the area are the Puff Adder, Forest Cobra and the Gaboon Adder. iSimangaliso is the only protected area where Gaboon Adders are found.
iSimangaliso Wetland Park is the principal breeding ground for the Loggerhead and the critically endangered Leatherback sea turtles in South Africa.
The Loggerhead sea turtle is named for its exceptionally large head. Loggerheads measure 80 to 110cm in length and weigh between 70 to 170kg. Loggerheads are primarily carnivorous and feed mostly on shellfish that live on the bottom of the ocean.
Leatherback turtles are named for their shell, which is leather-like rather than hard, like other turtles and are the largest of the sea turtle species. These sea turtles measure 1.2 – 2.4 meters in length and weighs between 225 – 900kg. Leatherbacks can consume twice their own body weight in prey per day, feeding exclusively on soft-bodied invertebrates like jellyfish. In recent years these ancient creatures are vulnerable to ingestion of floating marine debris like discarded plastics.
Loggerhead and Leatherback sea turtles arrive on the eastern shores of South Africa from November every year to lay their eggs. From January to February, hundreds of hatchlings emerge from their eggs and make their way down to the sea. Battling honey badgers, kelp gulls, ghost grabs, raptors and game fish, it is estimated that only one in a thousand hatchlings will survive into adulthood.
Setaro’s Dwarf Chameleon (Bradypodion setaroi)
Trees and bushes of coastal dune forests
Nile Monitor (Varanus niloticus)
Grassland, scrub, forests, mangroves, swamps, lakes and rivers
Snake Eyed Skink (Panaspis wahlbergii)
Rotting logs, grass roots, stones and old termite mounds
Red Spotted Beaked Snake (Rhampiophis rubropunctatus)
Found in coastal thickets and scrublands
Painted Reed Frog (Hyperolius marmoratus)
Swamps, rivers, lakes, savannah, grassland and bush
St Lucia is a small town on the East coast of South Africa. Surrounded by an UNESCO World Heritage Site, this town is at the heart of magnificent natural coastal forests, wild animals, majestic bird life, breathtaking beaches and hospitable people.
St Lucia SA is an online booking platform for accommodation, tours, safari packages and activities in St Lucia.