|Nile crocodile (Crocodylus niloticus)|
|Saltwater crocodile (Crocodylus porosus)|
A crocodile is a large amphibious reptile. It lives mostly in large tropical rivers, where it is an ambush predator. One species, the Australian saltie, also travels in coastal salt water. In very dry climates, crocodiles may aestivate and sleep out the dry season.
The modern type of crocodile appeared first in the Eocene period. Its ancestors go much further back to the Upper Triassic. The name "crocodile" is also used for any member of the order Crocodilia. They are basically Archosaurs, a group which also includes the dinosaurs. There are many species of crocodiles including the American, slender-snouted and Orinoco crocodile.
The crocodile can quickly snap its jaw shut with much power. However, crocodiles have little strength when opening their jaws, such that a person can hold the jaw shut with their hands.
Description[change | change source]
Crocodiles live in rivers, lakes and dams in parts of America, Asia, Africa and Australia. Some of the crocodiles from Australia live in salt water. These saltwater crocodiles are normally bigger than the ones that live in fresh water. While crocodiles spend most of their time in water, they can come out and move around on the land.
Crocodiles cannot breathe underwater: they breathe air. This is usual for land animals which take to the water later in their evolution. When they are not active, they can hold their breath for a maximum of about two hours underwater before drowning. Normally, when underwater, they are active and can hold their breath for a maximum of 20 minutes to one hour.
Behavior[change | change source]
Feeding[change | change source]
The crocodile looks like it is a log, and hides beneath the surface of the water. When an animal comes down to the water to drink, the crocodile lunges out of the water, grabs the animal in its jaws, and pulls it underwater, where it drowns. After the animal is dead, the crocodile will grab a piece of meat in its jaws and tears it off with a spin around.
What they look like[change | change source]
Alligators and crocodiles[change | change source]
An obvious difference between an alligator and a crocodile is that one can not see the fourth tooth in the lower jaw of an alligator when the alligator's mouth is closed. The fourth tooth in the lower jaw of a crocodile sticks out when its mouth is closed.
Ancient crocodiles[change | change source]
Some ancient crocodiles walked on two legs like dinosaurs. The scientists found preserved footprints in South Korea. They found hind foot prints but no front foot prints or marks from a tail dragging behind.
They were able to tell that these ancient crocodiles walked on their hind legs with their front legs and tails off the ground. They used the whole foot, the way a human or bear does, not just the toes, the way a dinosaur, bird or dog does.
Species[change | change source]
The order Crocodilia has 27 living species in nine genera. This does not include hybrid species or extinct prehistoric species. Modern molecular studies indicate that the nine genera can be grouped into three families.
Family Alligatoridae (Alligators and caimans)
- Genus Alligator: two species
- Genus Caiman: three species
- Genus Melanosuchus: one species
- Genus Paleosuchus: two species
Family Crocodylidae ("True" crocodiles)
Family Gavialidae (Gharial and false gharial)
References[change | change source]
- "Crocodilian Biology Database - FAQ - How long can a crocodile stay underwater?". crocodilian.com.
- Huchzermeyer, Fritz (2003). Crocodiles: Biology, Husbandry and Diseases. CABI Publishing. p. 13. ISBN 978-0-85199-656-1. Retrieved 7 January 2015.
- University of Queensland (June 11, 2020). "Ancient crocodiles walked on two legs like dinosaurs" (Press release). Eurekalert. Retrieved June 15, 2020.
- Kyung Soo Kim; Martin G. Lockley; Jong Deock Lim; Seul Mi Bae; Anthony Romilio (June 11, 2020). "Trackway evidence for large bipedal crocodylomorphs from the Cretaceous of Korea". Scientific Reports. 10 (1): 8680. doi:10.1038/s41598-020-66008-7. PMC 7289791. PMID 32528068.
Other websites[change | change source]
- Crocodile (Wikiversity)
- Saltwater crocodiles in freedom: Authentic pictures and descriptions
- Supersize Crocs - an interactive guide to crocodiles from PBS Archived 2014-10-14 at the Wayback Machine
- Man shares bungalow with crocodile BBC News.
- Crocodile -Citizendium