Crocodiles or Crocodilian is the largest sub-aquatic reptile on the planet. They lived along side the dinosaurs nearly 250 million years ago. After the Chicxulub Impact all dinosaurs were gone but somehow these creatures managed to survive. Today they are known for their size, powerful Jaws and strength. After many evolution they still look like a living dinosaur. These magnificent creatures can be found in Africa, Australia, America and Asia. Here are some interesting facts about them you should definitely know.
1. Crocodile specifically is from the Crocodilian family. They are the largest reptiles on the planet. The Salt water Crocodiles are the biggest, which can be as big as 20 feet in length and weigh as much as 1 tonne, whereas the Dwarf Crocodiles (Osteolaemus Tetraspis) are the smallest. Which grow up-to 5-6 feet and weigh around 20-30kgs.
2. In spite of being reptile, they are the closest relatives of dinosaurs and birds actually.
3. Prehistoric Crocodiles were much bigger as compared to modern day Crocs. Fossils found around 200 million years old shows their incredible size of 40-55 feet and a calculated weight of 8 tonnes.
4. These creatures have the strongest bite force in the animal kingdom. In test, salt water crocodile bite has been calculated around 3000 pounds per square inch (psi), whereas an average lion’s bite makes around 1300 pounds of pressure. A normal human bite has a bite force of 100 pounds per square inch. These pressure can easily crush any bone or even turtle shell. Despite of this incredibly strong bite force Crocodiles have very weak jaw muscles to open their jaw. In fact so weak that a normal human can keep their mouth close with bare hands.
5. Crocodiles do cry while devouring their prey. Basically it’s not crying or any emotion. They consume huge amounts of air while eating, these air create pressure on the Lachrymal Glands which force to release tears.
6. Crocodile have around 80 teeth which gets replaced almost 50 times in their lifetime. Almost 4000 teeth. But, these are not useful to chew their prey as crocodiles can’t move their Jaw sideways. They just use their teeth to grab their prey. As they can’t chew they tear flesh by performing death rolls.
7. Crocodile do live for 30-40 years in wild, in captivity they can live for almost 60-70 years.
8. They may have small brain but, they do learn from experience and can memories. In Australia an experiment was conducted on 3 rogue Crocodiles, they were relocated 400kms away from their habitat fitted with tracking devices. In 3 weeks they returned to their home.
9. They can swim really fast. Their streamline body, webbed legs and muscular tail allow them to swim at incredible speed of 35kms/hr with great agility. But, on land they are pretty slow. In belly walk they can go as fast as 5kms/hr and in high walk 15kms/hr. Although their acceleration from stand still is very high.
10. They can open mouth underwater without taking water in. Their mouth have valve which remains close except eating. Females carry their babies in their mouth. It is such an amazing thing to see these massive powerful Jaws become so delicate at times of handling their babies.
11. Crocodiles are cold blooded. So they stay underwater keeping their eyes and nostrils above the surface when they get hot, and rest on rock surface when they need to raise their body temperature. They don’t have sweat glands so, they keep their mouth open to release moisture.
12. They are Nocturnal creatures. So, they have excellent night vision, sense of smell and hearing. Even stronger than Komodo Dragons.
13. There are 24 species of Crocodiles, in which 14 species are actual Crocodiles, 8 species are of Alligators and Caimans, rest 2 species are Gharials.
14. These creatures have unique breeding qualities. After mating females lay up-to 60 eggs. The hatch lings can make noise from inside the eggs and the female digs them out. More interestingly the temperature of the nest makes the difference between male and female birth. If the nest temperature stays 30-32 degrees than the baby will be female and if the temperature is higher, than the baby will be a male.
15. Crocodiles have the most acidic stomach in the animal kingdom. Their stomach can digest horns, hooves and even shells. But, like birds they do gulp small stones which help to break down the meal inside stomach and digest properly.
Now, just for your knowledge let’s debunk some myths about them.
1. Crocodiles are often considered as Lizards. But, they don’t. Although they are reptiles and look almost same but, lizards have bony eye rings and don’t have overlapping scales on their body. Whereas crocodiles don’t have any bony eye rings but they do have bony secondary palate and overlapping scales.
2. They are not Cannibals. Crocodiles never eat their own species.
3. Their skin is not bullet-proof. They do have thick skin which protects them from scratches or enemy bites.
4. They can’t catch if you are running in zig-zag pattern. It is totally wrong, as their blind spot is directly in front of their nose. The actual truth is, they don’t have that much speed on land. So, the best way to escape a crocodile is to run fast in straight line.
5. Some people think they are not good climbers. It has been reported that crocs can climb fences very easily. In the wild they also seen climbing short heights on trees.