Crocodiles

Crocodiles are cold-blooded reptiles belonging to the crocodilia family. Together with sharks, crocodiles are known to have been around for millions of years. A crocodile can live up to 80 years old Altogether, there are 13 species of crocodiles in the present day, with the smallest being the dwarf crocodile and the largest one is the saltwater crocodile.

On the whole, they are not aggressive, with the exception of the saltwater crocodile who is very territorial and when it is mating season. Females can be aggressive when it is nesting season, where they are protecting their young. However, 99% of young offsprings do not survive. They are mainly eaten by other predators including other adult crocodiles.

As a carnivore with razor sharp teeth and jaws that can deliver one of the most powerful bites in the world, crocodiles deserve their fearsome reputation. They have been considered very successful predators. Their streamlined bodies allow fast travel in water and they have an acute sense of hearing and smell. Their modus operandi when hunting is to lay still underneath the water until some unsuspecting animal comes near enough. It will then attack, rapidly charging towards their prey and dragging them underwater. The crocodile also uses its powerful tail to propel them forward whilst swimming and attacking. It can also be whip their prey to unconsciousness.

While their teeth are terrifying, they are mainly used to grab and bite prey. A crocodile cannot use its teeth to macerate its food. For this, the crocodile swallow stones into its stomach which helps to grind food as well as act a ballast to balance their bodies.

As a group, crocodiles tend to be social, able to tolerate others nearby when they are basking out in the sun. They bask with their mouths open as a way to cool their bodies. The crocodiles also have a symbiotic relationship with the plover birds. These birds walk into the crocodile’s mouth unharmed and they picked at the food stuck in the teeth. This helps keep the crocodile’s teeth healthy,

Crocodile skin is highly prized. They are mainly used for leather goods such as bags and wallets. The skin used for leather good is the belly; the skin on the back of the crocodile is not suitable for luxury goods.