Original Research

A preliminary disease survey in the wild Nile crocodile (Crocodylus niloticus) population in the Okavango Delta, Botswana

A. J. Leslie, C. J. Lovely, J. M. Pittman
Journal of the South African Veterinary Association | Vol 82, No 3 | a54 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/jsava.v82i3.54 | © 2011 A. J. Leslie, C. J. Lovely, J. M. Pittman | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 11 April 2011 | Published: 13 April 2011

About the author(s)

A. J. Leslie, Department of Conservation Ecology & Entomology, University of Stellenbosch, Private Bag X1, Matieland, 7600 South Africa., South Africa
C. J. Lovely, Department of Conservation Ecology & Entomology, University of Stellenbosch, Private Bag X1, Matieland, 7600 South Africa., South Africa
J. M. Pittman, Johannesburg Zoo, Private Bag X13, Parkview, 2122 South Africa., South Africa

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Abstract

The objective of this study was to conduct a preliminary survey of diseases that might be present in the wild Nile crocodile population in the Okavango Delta, Botswana. Blood samples were collected from crocodiles ranging in size from 34.0cmto 463.0cmtotal length. Samples were examined for blood parasites and underwent a haematological analysis. Before release the crocodiles were examined for various clinical abnormalities. Of the 144 crocodiles examined, none were visibly sick or displayed any signs of disease. No antibodies to Mycoplasma crocodyli were detected. Hepatozoon pettiti was present in 55.3 % of blood smears examined, but there was no significant difference in any of the haematological values between the infected and uninfected crocodiles, and a high prevalence of Hepatozoon infection is not uncommon in other species. Only 7.6 % of the examined crocodiles were infested with leeches. Further research is required for several of the crocodilian diseases, in particular to elucidate the role of wild crocodilians as reservoirs of infection.

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