Most people shiver at the thought of crocodiles, and for good reason. These creatures are among the most dangerous in the world. And yet people are also fascinated by them… perhaps because they look like the remnants of a bygone era. Here’s 20 facts about crocodiles that might leave you scratching your head:
Crocodiles can reach 6.17 meters in length and a ton in weight. They are the largest reptiles on Earth.
That being said, some crocodiles are small. These are called dwarf crocodiles, capable of reaching 1.9 meters in length.
You can find crocodiles on every inhabited continent, though thankfully that doesn’t include Europe!
These creatures are far from new. They have been on the planet for over 240 million years.
There is a close connection between birds, dinosaurs, and crocodiles.
They can live for sixty or seventy years, which is quite long. If you believe the stories, some crocodiles can reach a hundred years, and possibly even exceeding that.
The crocodiles from 250 million years ago were massive, more akin to dinosaurs.
Crocodiles have the strongest bite, capable of exerting 3,700 psi when they slam their jaws shut.
Despite their powerful bite, you can keep their jaws shut using your hands. This is because the muscles they use to open their mouths are small and weak.
Crocodiles love to hunt in the dark because they have very good night vision.
Crocodiles are carnivores – they only eat meat. They have 24 ridiculously sharp teeth that will tear other animals apart before swallowing them. They tend not to chew.
They will swallow stones that settle in their stomachs to grind the food they swallow.
As cold-blooded animals that do not have the option of generating their own heat, you tend to find crocodiles in tropical areas and near wetlands.
During long periods of drought and winter, crocodiles will dig burrows in river banks, slip in and hibernate.
Have you seen crocodiles resting with their mouths open in the summer? They look threatening but that isn’t their intent. This habit is designed to help them cool off by releasing the heat in their bodies through the mouth. This is a consequence of the absence of sweat glands.
Crocodiles are most aggressive during the mating season. During the mating season, a female crocodile can lay as many as eighty eggs. She is expected to care for them for three months or so.
Most baby crocodiles do not live long. They fall prey to large fish and hyenas. Monitor lizards and much larger crocodiles will also eat them.
If you are ever threatened by a crocodile, it might help to know that the skin on their back has bony structures that can stop bullets! However, the skin on their bellies is softer and more vulnerable.
If you wish to escape a crocodile, stay out of the water. Their powerful tails make them strong swimmers that can reach 25 miles per hour.
Despite the well known phase ‘crocodile tears’, crocodiles don’t cry. Sometimes, when they are eating, they will swallow so much air that it touches the glands that produce tears. This results in tears flowing, but they’re not actually crying.
Do you have any interesting or fun facts about crocodiles that we’ve missed? Share them here in the comments section below!