Crocodiles… aren’t they frightening? In this article on crocodile facts, we are going to learn some interesting stuff about this feared carnivore. There are many tales of crocodile attacks that will give you chills. In case you want to learn about one of the most horrific carnage in history, head for this link. Okay, getting back to the actual topic, let us start learning about crocodile facts.
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1. There are 23 different species of crocodiles that live on this planet. Some are small, some are really big. The smallest species goes by the name dwarf crocodile. The maximum length it attains is 5.6 feet.
2. Saltwater crocodiles are the largest ones. The largest one ever found was an astonishing 20.24 feet long.
3. Crocodiles are really ancient. They actually coexisted with dinosaurs. Crocodiles have been around for at least 240 million years.
4. Crocs can live in a number of places like lakes, rivers, fresh water bodies, salt water, brackish water (brackish water is a mixture of salt and fresh water).
5. Crocodiles are found in many places. They are usually found in tropical regions of Asia, Australia, Africa and Americas.
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6. Crocs are carnivores. This means that they will eat only and only meat.
7. Talking of eating, when we eat, what do we do? We chew our food using teeth, right? That’s not the case with crocs. They do have 24 teeth, which are super sharp and their jaws are extremely powerful too. This might give us a notion that they too will chew their food. This is not true.
8. Crocodiles use their teeth to tear apart their prey after clamping them down in their jaws. Then, they will simply swallow the torn apart prey.
9. What about chewing. That’s pretty fascinating you know. They actually swallow stones. These stones then grind the food inside their stomach. The stones also act as ballasts. That’s incredibly weird, right?
10. One of most interesting crocodile facts is that the order Crocodilia was once at top of food chain. Today humans have replaced them. We are talking of very old times – 100 million years ago during the Mesozoic Era.
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11. Coming back to eating habits of crocs, in captivity, they are usually fed already killed animals like mice, fish, rat etc. In the wild however, they go for crustaceans, frogs, birds, fish, deer and sometimes they attack and eat humans too. Human? The case of Ramree Island Massacre (link given at the beginning of this article).
12. Have you ever though why crocodiles live in tropical areas, especially close to the wetlands? The answer to this question is in the fact that they are cold blooded animals. They simply cannot generate their own heat.
13. Because crocodiles cannot generate heat on their own, they need to hibernate during periods of long droughts and during winter months.
14. For the purpose of hibernation, crocodiles need to dig burrows in river banks. They tuck in there and go in for a long sleep (i.e. aestivation – a state similar to hibernation). This is precisely why they need to select wetlands for their habitat.
15. A crocodile with a mouth open and resting on a river bank does not indicate aggression. This behavior can be seen during the summer months. But why? During hot days, they need to cool off. The only way they cool off is by releasing heat through their mouths. That’s the reason why they keep their mouths open. They don’t have sweat glands.
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16. But just because they don’t show aggression while resting, it doesn’t mean that they are not aggressive. They get incredibly aggressive when it comes to mating season. That’s usually monsoons.
17. Did you know that once a crocodile closes its mouth, a human can use his bare hands to keep its mouth closed? That happens because the muscles that help crocodiles to open their mouth or jaws are actually very weak.
18. On the contrary however, the muscles that help the crocs close their mouth are very strong. This explains why their jaws snap shut with such force. In fact, crocodiles have one of the strongest bite forces in whole animal kingdom.
19. Actually, National Geographic says that saltwater crocodiles have the STRONGEST bite force of 3,700 pounds psi or per square inch, which is equal to 16,460 newtons. Watch out buddy! Don’t let a croc slam its jaws on you. They are pretty fast too. The jaws can snap around a prey in just 50 milliseconds.
20. Talking of mating, when crocs mate, the female crocs will lay somewhere between 20 and 80 eggs. The females are responsible for taking care of eggs. They do so for about three months.