A preliminary disease survey in the wild nile crocodile (Crocodylus niloticus) population in the Okavango Delta, Botswana
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 34.0 cmto 463.0 cmtotal 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.