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.
Interesting Crocodile Facts: 1-5
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.
Interesting Crocodile Facts: 6-10
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.
Interesting Crocodile Facts: 11-15
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.
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21. Here is one of the most interesting crocodile facts: The temperature of the nest where the eggs are laid actually determine whether the baby born will be a male or a female.
22. For the eggs to hatch into male crocs, the temperature of the nest needs to be 31.6 degrees Celsius. For temperatures below and above that, females will be born.
23. Large crocodiles, monitor lizards, hyenas and large fish each crocodile babies. 99% of the croc babies become food of these predators within the first year.
24. Crocodiles have a long life span. In the wild, they usually make it to 50 or 60 years and some even make it to 80 years.
25. Crocodiles are very strong swimmers. They can swim at a speed of 25 miles an hour. This ability comes from their very powerful tails.
Interesting Crocodile Facts: 26-30
26. Did you know that a bullet cannot penetrate a crocodile’s skin (we are talking of the skin on its back)? The skin on the back of a crocodile is made of bony structures known as osteoderms. The skin on the underside, i.e. on the belly of a croc is however very soft.
27. Crocodiles have amazing vision. Especially during the night, they can see extremely well. When they peek out of the water at night, their eyes appear as red dots.
28. Crocodile skin is considered as one of the finest in world. It is soft and fine and durable. In many tribal societies, crocodile skin is considered as status symbol. Not just tribe, we modern and advanced idiots also consider stuff made of crocodile skin to be status symbols.
29. Can you identify the closest relatives of crocodiles in animal kingdom? They are the dinosaurs and birds!
30. There is an expression called ‘crying crocodile tears’. Where does that come from? The expression actually means displaying sadness which is fake. The problem is that crocodiles don’t cry. There is a myth that crocs cry when they eat humans. The truth however is that when they eat, their eyes froth and bubble, which is why they need to keep on wiping their eyes.
Interesting Crocodile Facts: 31-35
31. Did you know there are sensors all along the body of the crocodiles, especially around the jaws? These sensors are connected to their brains and are extremely sensitive. They can pick up tiniest of vibrations in water and figure out the direction from which the vibrations are coming. This helps them to locate their prey.
32. Did you know the crocodiles are ambush hunters? They cannot really chase their prey and hence, they wait for their prey to come within their kill range.
33. The crocs are extraordinary stealth hunters. They can stay submerged in water for very long. Sometimes, they can stay submerged for up to two hours (especially the Nile crocodile) before they shoot out of water to snap on to a prey.
34. Crocodiles are capable of shooting out from under the water at incredible speed. How? The secret is with their hind legs that give the minimum required thrust and then the rest of the work is done by their strong and muscular tails. A croc can explode out of water at a speed of 12 meters per second!
35. The crocs perform the death roll. It may appear that they are rolling in water along their own axis with prey in mouth because they are happy and celebrating. The truth is that they do not have arms to help them tear of the flesh of the prey. They do so by the death roll. Two crocs will bite on a piece of meat and either one will roll or both will perform the death roll but in opposite direction. This tears off the prey into pieces.
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36. Funny thing, crocs will never tear apart their prey alive. They will first drag the prey underwater so that the prey drowns. Then they will start feasting.
37. The crocodiles will simply swallow large pieces of meat. Inside their stomach, the swallowed rocks will grind the pieces into smaller pieces. Then a high concentration hydrochloric acid is released. This acid can actually very acidic and corrode even metal. So, the smaller pieces of meat in the belly will simply be digested.
38. Will the acid not digest the crocodile’s stomach? Smart question. Actually no! The crocs release large amounts of alkaline solution to neutralize the acid and thereby protect their own stomachs from being digested.
39. During aestivation, the crocs breath for no more than 1 0r 2 times in every two minutes. The body temperature can drop by 15 degrees and drastically drops the metabolic rate.
40. During aestivation, the usual heart rate of 40 bpm can drop dramatically to 5 bpm (beats per minute) and the crocs can actually maintain this for a whole year.
That concludes our list of 30 interesting crocodile facts. In the next article, we will be covering facts about alligators and give a quick chart that differentiates the crocs from alligators. Stay tuned.