Fascinating Crocodile Facts

  • The first crocodiles appeared around 240 million years ago, at the same time when dinosaurs appeared. The prehistoric ancestors of crocodiles were much bigger than today’s counterparts.
  • They are members of the order Crocodilia, which also includes caimans, gharials and alligators.
  • They can be found in tropic areas of Australia, Africa, America and Asia with the exception of Europe.
  • There are 23 species of crocodiles and most of them are endangered because of poaching.
  • Crocodiles have a more longer, pointed snouts than alligators, and their top and bottom jaw are the same size
  • Crocodiles are aquatic reptiles that live in fresh water, lakes, rivers, brackish water (mix between salty and fresh water).
  • They are among the most feared carnivores on Earth, because of their size, big powerful jaws and aggressiveness.
  • Like other reptiles, crocodiles are cold-blooded and cannot generate their own heat.
  • They have a very slow metabolism, which allows them to survive long periods without food. They can survive many months on a single large meal.
  • During colder months, they hibernate or go dormant.
  • For the purpose of hibernation, crocodiles need to dig burrows in river banks. They tuck in there and go in for a long sleep (i.e. aestivation – a state similar to hibernation).
  • Despite being classified as “reptiles”, crocodiles (and all crocodilians, including alligators) are more closely related to dinosaurs and birds (which are actually avian dinosaurs) than to most animals classified as reptiles.
  • The eyes, nose and ears are high up on the top of the skull, so that the crocodile can be almost completely submerged, yet still hear, see and breathe.
  • While submerged, a protective membrane closes over a crocodile’s eyes – like swimming goggles.
  • Crocodile’s skin is highly appreciated in fashion industry and represents a status symbol for wealthy people.
  • Saltwater crocodiles are the biggest reptiles in the world. The largest one ever found was 6.17 meters long and can weigh up to 907 kg.
  • Smallest crocodile species is Dwarf Crocodile which can reach up to 1.7 meters in length and weighs 6 to 7 kilograms.
  • They are amphibious reptiles, spending part of their time in water and part on land.
  • Although the saltwater crocodile and the American crocodile are able to swim out to sea, no living species of crocodilian can be considered truly marine.
  • Crocodiles have webbed feet which allow them to make fast turns and sudden moves in the water or initiate swimming.
  • Crocodiles are very fast swimmers with the help of their powerful tail, which helps them catch their prey.
  • They can swim between 15 – 32 km/h and can hold their breath underwater for around one hour.
  • Their maximum speed is 19 km/h on land, and for a very short distance (around 20-25 meters), when they “belly run”.
  • They have 24 sharp teeth which are meant to grasp and crush, not chew.
  • When a crocodile loses a tooth, it is quickly replaced. These reptiles can go through 8,000 teeth over a lifetime.
  • Crocodiles are meat-eaters (carnivores).
  • Crocodiles are called ambush predators, because they wait until their prey comes close to them and then they rush out and attack.
  • They’re diet consists of fish, birds, rats, snakes and smaller mammals.
  • Some kinds of crocodiles are able to hunt larger types of animals such as deer, wild boar, and even buffalo.
  • They will hunt their prey, make a grab for them, and, instead of killing them outright, will drag them underwater until they are drowned. Once the prey is dead, the crocodile will bring it up to the surface of the water to consume.
  • Typically, they will only eat around 50 full meals a year. Most of the time they fast. This is especially true of nesting females who do not eat at all during this entire period.
  • Crocodiles don’t chew their food. They tear apart flesh and swallow large chunks of meat.
  • Many large crocodilians swallow stones, which may act as ballast to balance their bodies or assist in crushing food, similar to grit ingested by birds.
  • Crocodiles have an extremely acidic stomach, which helps them to easily digest bones, hooves, and horns.
  • They have one of the strongest bites in the animal world.
  • Muscles which induce closing of the jaw are much stronger than muscles which open the jaw. Because of that, people can use their bare hands to keep their mouth closed.
  • They don’t have sweat glands. The only way they cool off is by releasing heat through their mouths. That’s the reason why they keep their mouth open and sleep with their mouths open.
  • Crocodiles really do produce tears. Because, while eating, they swallow too much air, which gets in touch with lachrymal glands (glands that produce tears) and forces tears to flow.
  • Only crocodile’s belly has a gentle skin. Skin on their back contains bony structures (called osteoderms).
  • Contrary to the common myth, crocodile skin (and also alligator skin) is not bulletproof.
  • Crocodiles have the most sophisticated heart in the animal kingdom, and actively change the destination of blood that flows through it depending on requirements.
  • Crocodiles have excellent eyesight (night vision ). Their eyes can be seen as red dots while peeking from the water during the night.
  • They also have very good sense of smell, so they can smell animals from miles away.
  • Crocodiles have a valve at the back of their throat allowing them to open their jaw underwater.
  • Surprisingly, crocodiles are very social animals that prefer to live near each other.
  • Crocodiles display increased aggressiveness during the mating season, which is linked to the monsoon.
  • The males are territorial, patrolling and defending a length of shoreline that may extend up to 50 meters out into the water.
  • Female lays 20-80 eggs and take care of them 3 months.
  • A baby Crocodile is called a Hatchling.
  • The hatchlings stay in their eggs for 55 to 110 days. They are 17.8 to 25.4 centimeters long when they are born and don’t mature until they are 4 to 15 years.
  • Temperature of the nest determines the gender of the baby. When temperature is 31.6 degrees Celsius – males will develop. Temperature below and above 31.6 degrees induces development of females.
  • Most of the young crocodiles (some sources gives a percent as high as 99%) are eaten in their first year of life – by other predators like lizards, other larger crocodiles, hyenas, and even fish.
  • Crocodiles carry their babies to the water in their mouth.
  • Baby crocodiles can make noises from inside their eggs before they hatch. The mother can hear their voices, then digs up the eggs from the sand, and takes the hatchlings to the water.
  • Most crocodiles live 50-60 years in the wild. Some crocodiles can live more than 80 years.
  • They have an average lifespan of at least 30–40 years and in the case of larger species an average of 60–70 years.


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