Crocodiles are enormous reptiles that may be found in the tropics of Africa, Asia, the Americas, and Australia. They belong to the Crocodilia order, which includes caimans, gharials, and alligators.
Crocodiles come in a variety of sizes and are found in 13 different species. According to the Zoological Society of London, the dwarf crocodile (Osteolaemus tetraspis) grows to around 5.6 feet (1.7 metres) in length and weighs 13 to 15 pounds (6 to 7 kilograms). The saltwater crocodile (Crocodylus porosus) is the biggest, growing up to 23 feet (6.5 metres) in length and weighing up to 2,000 pounds (907 kg)
Don’t cry a crocodile tear, reptile fans; these fascinating crocodile facts will enthral you.
Even if they can’t tell the difference between an alligator and a crocodile, most people can recognise a crocodile. Large reptiles with thick scales, big snouts, and many sharp teeth.
Adults vary in size according to their species, age, and geographic location. They may be anything from 5 feet to 20 feet long. The heaviest individuals can weigh more than 2,000 pounds.
Crocodiles are carnivores, meaning that they exclusively consume flesh. They eat fish, birds, frogs, and crabs in the wild. Crocs may feed on each other. They consume tiny creatures that have been slaughtered for them in captivity, such as rats, fish, or mice.
Crocodiles in the wild use their large jaws to clamp down on food, crush it, and then devour it whole. They are unable to chew or break apart little amounts of food like other animals.
Crocodiles ingest little stones that ground up the food in their stomachs to aid digestion. Crocodiles may go months without eating due to their poor metabolism.
The Crocodilia order includes some of the top species in the food chain around 100 million years ago, during the Mesozoic era. Crocodiles may now be found throughout the tropics of Africa, Asia, Australia, and the Americas. They prefer to reside near bodies of water such as lakes, rivers, marshes, and even saltwater.
Crocodiles are cold-blooded and cannot create their own heat, hence they prefer tropical conditions. According to Animalia, they undergo a hibernation-like condition of inactivity known as aestivation during the winter months, which entails slowing down all body activities. During lengthy periods of drought, crocodiles also aestivate. They dig a tunnel in the side of a riverbank or lake and settle in for a long nap to establish a spot to hibernate.
Crocodiles and dinosaurs are not the same, despite sharing many traits and having lived on the earth throughout the Mesozoic era.
Dinosaurs and crocs are both members of the archosaur reptile subclass, which first emerged in the fossil record some 250 million years ago, during the Triassic epoch. Archosaur development separated into two courses towards the end of the Triassic period: one branch evolved into the earliest relatives of crocodiles and alligators, while the other branch evolved into dinosaurs, birds, and flying reptiles (also known as pterosaurs).
A global extinction wiped off nonavian dinosaurs and flying reptiles around 66 million years ago, near the end of the Cretaceous epoch. Crocodilians and birds are the only archosaurs left today.
Crocodiles lay between 12 and 48 eggs per clutch. The hatchlings spend 55 to 100 days in their eggs. The temperature of a crocodile egg at a vital point during the first half of its incubation cycle determines the sex of each crocodile kid.
Crocodile infants are born with a length of 7 to 10 inches (18 to 25 cm) and do not mature until they are 4 to 15 years old. According to Animalia, the lifespan of a crocodile varies depending on the species; some, like the Dwarf crocodile, may live up to 40 years, while others, like the Nile crocodile, can live up to 80 years.
The Cuban crocodile is one of the most endangered crocodile species on the planet. According to the International Union for Conservation of Nature, it is severely endangered and has a population of only approximately 4,000 individuals (IUCN). The species is constantly threatened by poaching.
The IUCN lists the American crocodile as vulnerable, yet its population is growing.
Alligator versus crocodile
What’s the difference between alligators and crocodiles? For starters, an alligator’s jaw is U-shaped, but a crocodile’s is V-shaped, according to Live Science. Furthermore, when crocodiles close their jaws, their teeth protrude above their top lip, but alligators’ teeth do not.
Crocodiles have salt glands on their tongues, which is another distinction between alligators and crocodiles. Crocs can survive in saline water thanks to their modified salivary glands. According to the Crocodilian Biology Database, alligators and caimans have lost their capacity to release extra salt through their tongue glands and prefer to dwell in freshwater environments.
Each species differs somewhat from the next. Learn more about these colossal reptiles and what makes them distinctive in the video below.
The saltwater crocodile, sometimes known as the “saltie,” is the world’s biggest living reptile. Adult males average 14 to 16 feet in length, with some reaching 20 feet or more! This species prefers saltwater settings, as its name indicates.
Dwarf Crocodile — The smallest of the Crocodylidae family, the dwarf crocodile is also known as the “bony” or “broad-snouted” crocodile. Adults, on the other hand, are roughly 5 feet long. Western Africa is home to these reptiles.
The Siamese Crocodile is the family’s most endangered member. The Siamese species is classified as Critically Endangered by the IUCN. Through commercial hunting, humans single-handedly wiped out this species. Illegal egg collection, habitat destruction, and entrapment in fishing gear are all threats to the species’ existence today.
Nile Crocodile — This reptile is well-known for its presence in the Nile River, which is one of the world’s longest rivers. Because of their near closeness to humans, these reptiles assault humans at an alarmingly high rate. Because of this reptile’s size, researchers estimate that more than half of all assaults result in death.
— Bronwyn Reynolds, Fizzin