Brief Overview: The crocodile is the largest reptile in the world, and part of the Crocodilian family which includes, Alligators, Gharials, and Caimans. The oldest name for crocodile was from the ancient Greek word “Kroke drilos” that called crocodiles, “Gravel Worms”.
Species and Appearance: There are 13 different species of crocodile in the world, the smallest of which is the dwarf crocodile, which can grow up to five and a half feet in length and weigh 15 pounds. The largest species is the saltwater crocodile, and the longest one to have ever been found was 20 feet long and weighed almost 2400 pounds. Because of how similar the crocodile looks to the alligator; it is understandable why people confuse them for one another. However, there are some ways to tell the difference. One would be the skin color. Alligators come in a darker, blackish grey color while crocodiles are lighter with a grey-greenish color. Another way to distinguish them is their snouts. Crocodiles have long, slender V-shaped snouts unlike the alligator which has a wider U-shaped snout. However, the other species of crocodile, the gharial, has the narrowest snout.
Habitats and Locations: The crocodiles have been seen throughout the world with the exception of Antarctica and Europe. You can find them in many tropical, or wetland, habitats which includes swamps, marshes, coasts, low-forests, and even in some deserts with rivers and lakes.
Survival and Behavior: Like an armadillo, the crocodile is well armored with thick, tough scaly skin that helps protect them against rival predators and attackers. Their massive jaws hold some of the strongest records in history with their bite force of 3700 pounds before they swallow their food whole. Since they cannot chew their food, they have to tear their prey bit by bit before they swallow. The crocodile also has a long, powerful tail and strong limbs to help push its body across, and through, the water as well as walking, or running, on land. Being a reptile means that a crocodile is cold blooded. It cannot control its own body temperature and needs to warm itself in the sun. The crocodile would also hibernate in the colder months in sand burrows near water.
Diet and Predators: Crocodiles are strictly carnivores, meaning they only eat meat. Most of the species have a very, very wide range of prey, from all sorts of other reptiles, fish, mammals, birds, frogs, and crabs. The most remarkable thing about crocodiles is that most of them will attack anything and eat them which includes large animals like zebras, hippos, lions, and even other crocodiles. It is to be noted that lions, tigers, and leopards compete fiercely against crocodiles for prey and are the most responsible for attacking them.
Breeding and Lifespan: The crocodile’s mating season is in the beginning of the year usually between two months. When pregnant, females build nests with loose dirt into small areas called mounds by the water’s edge then lay their eggs. These eggs can range from 30 to 50 in one nest which the female will bury and guard intensely. Within five months the eggs will hatch and will carry her newborns into the water. However, once they are in the water the mother will no longer care for her children unlike an alligator. For average lifespan, a crocodile in the wild can live up to 70 years and in captivity it can live up to 100 years.