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14 Interesting Facts About Crocodiles

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Introduction

Crocodiles are apex predators that have existed for millions of years. They are reptiles that live throughout the tropics in Africa, Asia, the Americas and Australia.

Here are 14 fascinating facts about these iconic creatures:

Interesting Facts About Crocodiles

Crocodiles in Queensland
Crocodiles in Queensland by crafterm is licensed under CC BY-NC-SA 2.0 .
  1. Crocodiles have existed for a very long time – They first appeared on Earth about 240 million years ago during the late Triassic period. Their basic body shape and lifestyle have remained relatively unchanged since then.
  2. They can live for decades – Crocodiles are very long-lived animals. In captivity, they have been known to survive over 70 years. In the wild, their life expectancy is about 50 years on average.
  3. Crocodiles never stop growing – Throughout their long lives, crocodiles continue putting on size. Even very old individuals continue to get bigger over time.
  4. They have an incredible bite force – Crocodiles can slam their jaws shut with incredible force, measuring up to 3,700 pounds per square inch. That’s more powerful than the bite of a great white shark!
  5. But they cannot chew their food – Despite their mighty bite, crocodiles cannot chew their food. They must swallow their prey whole or tear it into smaller chunks that can be gulped down.
  6. Crocodiles produce tears – Crocodiles do produce tears. But unlike humans, they don’t cry as an emotional response. Their tears are meant to lubricate and cleanse their eyes while out of the water.
  7. They are found across the tropics – Crocodiles inhabit tropical regions scattered across Africa, Asia, Australia, and the Americas. The largest modern species is the saltwater crocodile of the Indo-Pacific region.
  8. They are stealthy ambush predators – Crocodiles are sit-and-wait hunters that remain perfectly still for hours until suitable prey comes along. They then burst forth with incredible speed and power.
  9. Mother crocodiles protect their young – Female crocodiles are very protective as mothers. After laying eggs, they guard the nest site vigorously. When hatchlings emerge, they gently carry the babies to water in their jaws.
  10. They can survive for months without food – Due to their slow metabolisms, crocodiles can survive many months without eating anything at all. They simply become more lethargic to conserve energy.
  11. Crocodiles float with their eyes and nostrils exposed – When floating in the water, crocodiles lift their head so that their eyes and nostrils are above the surface. This allows them to see and breathe while the rest of their body stays hidden.
  12. They have an incredible homing ability – Some crocodiles have shown the capacity to navigate hundreds of miles back to their home territory when displaced. It’s believed they use geomagnetic cues for orientation and navigation.
  13. Cold weather can be deadly – As cold-blooded reptiles, crocodiles rely on external heat to maintain their body temperature. Prolonged exposure to cold conditions can be lethal for them.
  14. Their skin was once popular in the fashion industry – Commercial hunting for crocodile skin took a heavy toll on wild populations in the 20th century. But international protection efforts have now allowed many species to rebound.

Conclusion

Crocodiles are primordial creatures that have found great success by staying perfectly adapted to their environment for millions of years. They fill an important ecological role as apex aquatic predators across the tropics. Understanding these incredible reptiles helps us appreciate the diversity of life on earth and importance of conservation.


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