Crocodiles are among the largest reptiles in the world, and they are also some of the most dangerous creatures on the planet. Crocodiles and their close relative, the alligator, are responsible for more human deaths each year than any other predator. These prehistoric animals live all around the world, usually in tropical climates.
- The biggest type of crocodile is the saltwater crocodile. One such crocodile was measured at more than 23 feet long, and weighed more than 2,000 pounds.
- The jaw of a crocodile features 24 razor-sharp teeth that are used for pulling and crushing—not for chewing. They have the strongest bite of any animal.
- Crocodiles first appeared around 240 million years ago, about the same time when dinosaurs first emerged.
The Crocodile Diet
Crocodiles are ferocious predators, and their diet usually consists of birds, fish, crabs, and small mammals. Though crocodiles have been known to attack people, they would usually rather eat something else.
A Day in the Life
Crocodiles enjoy living in shallow waters, which often include swamps and rivers. They hunt day and night, and often like to grab their prey from the water’s edge. They wait patiently, sometimes for hours, hoping an animal will stop by to take a drink. When a potential victim arrives, crocodiles dip below the water and lunge forward in a surprise attack. Once they grab a potential meal, they thrust it into the water and wait for it to drown. They can then go a long time without another meal.
Crocodiles usually breed during the wet season. After mating, the female will lay at least 40 eggs. Baby crocodiles take anywhere from 55 to 100 days to hatch, and they know how to swim right away. The otherwise ferocious crocodile is very tender with their babies, and mother and father may both cradle eggs in its mouth as a baby is hatching.
Crocodiles are endangered all around the world, typically because of habitat destruction and illegal hunting. In the wild, crocodiles can live extremely long lives and the average life span is 70 years. In captivity, they have been known to survive for over 100 years.