Type: Reptile Diet: Carnivore
Average life span in the wild: 45 -70 years Size: 15 – 17 ft (4.5 – 5 m)
Weight: 500 lbs (225 kg) Colors: Brown, Green and Gray
Relative: Size relative to a 6-ft (2-m) man
Crocodiles are one of the world’s oldest living creatures and are thought to be around 200 million years old. This suggests that crocodiles were around in dinosaur times! Crocodiles feed on fish, reptiles and mammals, (even man) and the size of a crocodile’s prey generally depends on the size of the crocodile. They mostly love to bask on land and float in water and they are generally threatened to extinction.
There are three major types of crocodiles and they are discussed below;
The Nile crocodile has reputation as a vicious man-eater and because they usually reside in waters and areas close to human population, they have frequent have run-ins with people. Their virtually indiscriminate diet means a villager washing clothes by a riverbank might look just as tasty as a migrating wildebeest. Estimates are that up to 200 people may die each year in the jaws of a Nile crocodile. They live throughout sub-Saharan Africa, the Nile Basin, and Madagascar in rivers, freshwater marshes, and mangrove swamps.
The diet of the Nile crocodile is mainly fish, but it will attack almost anything unfortunate enough to cross its path, including zebras, small hippos, porcupines, birds, and other crocodiles. It will also scavenge carrion, and can eat up to half its body weight at a feeding.
Despite its fearsome nature, this crocodile is unusually caring nature as a parent. Where most reptiles lay their eggs and move on, mother and father Nile crocodiles ferociously guard their nests until the eggs hatch, and they will often roll the eggs gently in their mouths to help hatching babies emerge.
This is the world’s largest living crocodile! They have an enormous range, populating the brackish and freshwater regions of eastern India, Southeast Asia, and northern Australia. They are excellent swimmers and have often been spotted far out at sea.
They are classic opportunistic predators as they lurk patiently beneath the surface near the water’s edge, waiting for potential prey to stop for a sip of water.
They’ll feed on anything they can get their jaws on, including water buffalo, monkeys, wild boar, and even sharks. Without warning, they explode from the water with a thrash of their powerful tails, grasp their victim, and drag it back in, holding it under until the animal drowns.
Population estimates range from 200,000 to 300,000 worldwide, and they are considered at low risk for extinction. However, their hides are most valued above all other crocodilians.
The American crocodile is considered an endangered species and most are found in southern Mexico, Central America, the Caribbean, and northern South America. Their habitat of choice is the fresh or brackish water of river estuaries, coastal lagoons, and mangrove swamps.
Their diet consists mainly of small mammals, birds, fish, crabs, insects, snails, frogs, and occasionally carrion.
Some fun facts about crocodiles
Fact 1 – Legend has it that if you are being chased by a crocodile, the only chance you have of getting away is by outsmarting the crocodile. Apparently the way to do this is to run away from the crocodile diagonally down a hill! The myth says that crocodiles have a very slow turning circle meaning that if you run diagonally, the crocodile theoretically cant catch you!
Fact 2 – As crazy as it sounds, crocodiles are known to swallow stones when they are on the banks of the water. The crocodile does this to help its digestive system and also to aid it’s buoyancy in water. Also, it is thought that by swallowing stones, the crocodile may also be able to swim to deeper parts of the water.
Fact 3 – The crocodile is also unable to stick out its tongue.
Fact 4 – The crocodile is able to regrow new teeth very quickly after losing the old ones, throughout the crocodiles life.
Fact 5 – Mummified crocodiles and crocodile eggs have been discovered in Egyptian tombs.
Fact 6 – American crocodiles are far more likely to flee from the sight of humans than to attack people