Crocodiles


A crocodile hunts zebra in the water

 

Amazing and interesting facts about crocodiles.


Main facts
Crocodiles are aggressive during the mating season.  They sweat through their mouths.  When diving, the crocodiles heart is like a three-chambered reptilian heart, enabling them to stay underwater longer.  Their eyes have crystals that reflect light and make night vision possible .  99% of the crocodile offspring are eaten in the fist year of life by large fish, lizards, herons and adult crocodiles.  Crocodiles can live up to 80 years. They eat everything including horns and hooves and bones. They swallow their prey whole.

Origins
The first crocodiles appeared 240 million years ago, at the same time as the dinosaurs. They are related to dinosaurs who ran on their back legs.  That's why even today, crocodiles have longer back legs than front legs.


Saltwater Crocodile

 Size
The saltwater crocodile is the largest crocodile.  It can reach 7 m (23 ft) in length.  But the crocodiles eggs are only the size as a goose egg!  The smallest crocodile is the dwarf crocodile (Osteolaemus tetraspis) from central Africa, which has a maximum length of 1.9 m (6.5 ft).

Skin
The crocodiles back is covered in bones (called osteoderms) that can protect it from arrows, spears and even bullets!  Their belly skin is much softer and is thought by some tribes to have special properties. 

Poachers
Crocodiles are caught for their skin by poachers.  A crocodile-skin purse can fetch $ 15,000. Many populations are being wiped out.   Brazilian poachers capture caymans at night, put spears between their eyes, and then skin them alive.  Crocodile farming has kept some species alive.


American Crocodile

Teeth
Crocodiles have 24 sharp teeth to grasp and crush, not to chew.  They swallow stones that grind the food inside their stomachs.  It's teeth are replaced continuously for the whole of the crocodile's life.  Crocodiles can exert huge pressure when they close their jaws, but the when they are opening them they are so weak that even an rubber band is enough to keep a large crocodiles' jaw shut .  The can use their jaws very carefully when carrying baby crocodiles.

Swimming
Crocodiles swim with their tails at 40 km per hour, and can stay underwater for 2-3 hours.  But on land they can only manage a short burst of speed, and they get tired very quickly.

A crocodile attacking an elephant....



....but the elephant escapes



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