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Siamese Crocodiles are one of the smallest crocodile species in the world. There are of course smaller species of alligators and cayman and there is of course Africa's Dwarf Crocodile, but when it comes to true crocs, the Siamese is the very baby cousin of a 20 plus foot Saltwater Crocodile.
The Siamese crocodile is a freshwater crocodilian, with a relatively broad, smooth snout and an elevated, bony crest behind each eye. Overall, it is an olive-green colour, with some variation to dark-green. They reach up to 2.1 m (6.9 ft) in length and weigh in at around of 40–70 kg as an adult. Very large male specimens have been known to reach 4 m (13 ft) and 350 kg in weight. Most adults do not exceed 3 m (10 ft) in length, although hybrids in captivity can grow much larger.
They can be found in a wide range of freshwater habitats, including slow-moving rivers and streams, lakes, seasonal oxbow lakes, marshes and swamplands.
In 1992, the Siamese Crocodile was believed to be extremely close to or fully extinct in the wild until in 2000 National Geographic's resident herpetologist Dr. Brady Barr, caught one while filming in Cambodia. Since then, a number of surveys have confirmed the presence of a small population in Thailand, a small population in Vietnam (possibly less than 100 individuals), and more sizeable populations in Burma, Laos and Cambodia. In March 2005, conservationists found a nest containing juvenile Siamese crocodiles in the southern Lao province of Savannakhet. There are no recent records from Malaysia or Brunei. A significant population is known to be living in East Kalimantan, Indonesia.
But returning to Thailand, most people know that Siamese Crocodiles can be found in Khaw Yai National Park, but in fact it's actually quite hard to find them there firstly due to their rarity and secondly because they are only normally seen in the rivers and tend to be shy and keep to areas far away from people.
A few years ago, there was the worldwide news story about a Khaw Yai crocodile who decided that he wasn't afraid of people and made his home in the waters around one of the most famous waterfalls, Pa Kloi Mai. Unfortunately, the waterfall was a haven for Thai day trippers who used it to enjoy their picnics and for playing in the water. Since everyone was scared stiff of him and he was constantly spoiling their days out the rangers decided it was better he was caught and relocated to a more quiet area of the park, where he probably remains to this day.
But if you would like to watch Siamese Crocodiles a lot closer to Korat than Khaw Yai then pop over to the many reservoirs near Pimai where they can occasionally be seen.
Park your car on the side of the road near the reservoir, then just walk down the farm track on the right hand side of the reservoir and keep your eyes open for crocodiles swimming with their eyes, ears and snouts out if the water. Binoculars will obviously give you a better view but you should still easily see them without if there are any about.
They are not dangerous unless cornered or with young, but that said if one of them does happen to be going for a walk somewhere near you don't follow him to close, always be cautious around wildlife, especially something as big as a wild crocodile. Crocodiles would hardly ever chase a human across dry land, and even if they did you would outrun them, but as I mentioned, far better safe than sorry.
Due to the rarity of Siamese Crocodiles the chances of you seeing one is slim, but they are there because I've seen them occasionally, but don't be disappointed if you don't, as I said the chances are slim.
Bird species to look out for on the walk include lesser whistling ducks, Brahminy kites, Black-winged kites, Pheasant-tailed Jacanas, Pied lapwings, Black Wheatears, as well as numerous species of herons and egrets.