They are dangerous? How do they behave? Discover these and other characteristics of a fascinating species of reptile.
Family: Semi-Aquatic Reptile
Group: Auropsids Archosaurs Crocodilydae
Habitat: Freshwater rivers and beach mangroves
Territory: Africa, America, Australia, and Asia
Size: 5-6 meters
The crocodile, or Crocodilydae according to its scientific name, is a semi-aquatic reptile belonging to the family of the Acosapsid Archosaurids. Lives in tropical areas of Africa, North America, Central America, Australia, and Asia. He usually spends much of his life motionless in freshwater rivers or beach mangroves.
According to scientists, it is possible that they appeared about 55 million years ago and there are currently 14 species. Also, they can live between 50 and 80 years depending on each species and move from one habitat to another according to their needs.
This animal is approximately 5 to 6 meters long and can weigh up to 800 kilos. Its skin, in addition to being thick, hard, and dry, is scaly and rough. It has four legs with different numbers of toes. The front two have five, while the rear two have four. These, along with its long tail, serve to maintain balance when it moves crawling on the ground.
On the other hand, their nostrils adapt to aquatic life. This way it can breathe perfectly out of the water and stay under it for six hours, on the move or two days at rest. Also, thanks to its jaw it can regulate the temperature of their body. That is why it is common to see her with her mouth open even if she does not attack at that time.
This reptile is carnivorous and its diet is based mainly on vertebrate animals such as fish, birds, buffalo, wildebeest, or zebra. However, sometimes it also eats mollusks and crustaceans. A funny thing is that, despite having large, pointed teeth, it cannot chew. So he swallows the whole pieces and waits for the gastric juices to finish the digestion process.
It can modify its metabolism depending on the abundance or scarcity of food in its habitat. That is, if there is little food, their digestion is slower, and if there is much, it is faster. And not only that! They can also control the speed of their digestion based on the ambient temperature.
It is considered a dominant predator since it has a lot of strength and is very aggressive. Normally, they spend the day standing still waiting for their prey to come closer.
It is very stealthy so it is not difficult to hunt. And how does he do it? It approaches its prey slowly under the water while it drinks from it, and when it is absent-minded, it pounces on it. Since he cannot chew, he drags his prey into the water where a fight begins in which he usually always wins.
Although its domestication is impossible because it is a wild animal, it is possible to train them to get used to the handling of their caretakers and to reduce their aggressiveness.
Are crocodiles dangerous?
According to studies, only 6 out of 23 species are considered dangerous. In the case of crocodiles, between 800 and 1,000 people die each year from their attacks. However, they are ranked at number 10 of the most dangerous animals in the world. It is a relief that they are not part of the first position!
But why do they attack human beings?
It is a matter of survival. They attack to feed and kill to defend themselves. As long as people enter their habitat, they will become more dangerous. So it is important to respect their space.
Among the crocodiles, the most dangerous are the marine and the Nile crocodiles, which can measure up to 6 meters and weigh approximately 730 kilos. These can be found in sub-Saharan Africa, the Nile Basin, or Madagascar.
On the other hand, several studies assure that the smallest species cannot kill a human being, but they can hurt them.
What is the difference between the crocodile and the alligator?
For one thing, the alligator hunts small mammals and only attacks humans when it feels threatened. On the other hand, the crocodile, in addition to having a larger size, is usually more aggressive. There is also a big difference in the behavior of both species.