A crocodile basks in the sun on the banks of the Nile river. He
has just eaten, so he will probably not need to hunt again for a long
time. He sleeps undisturbed and really looking like his name:
crocodile. It means “pebbly worm” in Greek, and a great pebbly worm
with legs is exactly what he looks like.
There are 13 species of crocodile in the world, but many people
confuse them with alligators. One difference is easy to see up close.
When a crocodile’s mouth is closed, all his teeth are visible in an
interlocking pattern, but an alligator’s teeth are hidden.
God has made both large crocodiles and small ones. Their size
ranges from the 5 foot Dwarf Crocodile to the 23 foot long Australian
Saltwater Crocodile that weighs over a ton.
Crocodiles are reptiles and God made them ectothermic, or
cold-blooded like all reptiles, meaning a crocodile’s body has no way
of heating itself. In cold weather, a reptile can’t move very well and
he cannot digest his food, so he must bask, or lay in the sun. When it
is too hot, a crocodile will retreat to the water or mud to cool off.
God made most reptiles to move slowly and conserve energy, but not the
crocodile. An attacking crocodile can move swiftly on land or in the
water. The Nile crocodile can run 30 miles per hour.
A crocodile is a powerful hunter and will eat almost anything.
Crocodiles have a very low metabolism, and a large adult will go an
entire year without eating simply because he doesn’t need to. But they
are very efficient hunters as well being powerful, and their long
tails and streamlined bodies are essential for underwater attacks. A
crocodile usually lays in wait for his prey, camouflaged in tall grass
or in the mud, but when he attacks, he is swift and deadly. God gave
him eyes and nostrils on the top of his head so he can be almost
completely submerged but still able to breathe and watch. When only
his head is above water, he is very hard to see.
A crocodile usually holds its breath for about 15 minutes but
he can stay underwater for an amazing 3 hours. When underwater, his
ears and nostrils close tightly. He also has special see-through inner
eyelids that protect his eyes. If he catches prey while underwater,
his tongue acts like a stopper and closes his throat. God made the
crocodile even with the ability to eat underwater! He can also expand
his lungs, adjusting his ability to float.
God created unusual scales for the crocodile. Every scale has
a tiny pit called a dermal pressure receptor. these pits help the
crocodile to detect changes in water salinity. Crocodiles have been
known to migrate long distances to find water. It is thought that they
might also have a homing instinct, because they have been known to
travel up to 250 miles to return home after being relocated.
A crocodile can have a scary 86 teeth at a time, all of which
are replaced 2 or 3 times per year. they also have the most crushing
bite of any animal on the planet, with 5,000 pounds of pressure per
square inch, or psi. Even a Great White shark has only 400 psi and
human’s strongest bite has 200 psi. Not surprisingly, crocodiles are
at the top of the food chain and can live up to 70 years in the wild.
To many people crocodiles are frightening. With their teeth,
and their claws and predatory instincts, the crocodile would not be
anyone’s first choice for a pet. But they are wonderfully made by the
Creator of all Things, and He made them just as He wanted them.