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Drought Threatens Crocodile Reproduction

Drought ruining crocodiles' sex lives
BBCNews.com
, Dec. 2, 2002

The lack of monsoon rains has stopped male crocodiles from producing sperm, breeders say.

John Lever, owner of the Koorana Crocodile Farm in the eastern state of Queensland, said if the drought continued, the female crocodiles would start to reabsorb their eggs as a survival mechanism.

"It's pretty rough when your sex life is determined by the weather," said Mr Lever, whose farm exports crocodile meat and skins.

"Thunder and lightning is the ultimate aphrodisiac for crocs."

Farming in trouble

The farm has about 3,000 crocodiles, and normally produces about 1,600 baby crocodiles a year. Mr Lever said he feared the birth rate could be halved this year.

He said he believed the drought was likely to be affecting crocodiles in the wild as well.

"There's not enough climatic incentive to get the males really hot, and they're not looking for females and mating the way they should," said the crocodile breeder.

Eastern Australia is experiencing its worst drought in decades, slashing agricultural production.

Last week the government cut its official economic growth forecast by 0.75 percentage points to 3% for the year to June.