World’s Biggest Crocodile – World’s Largest Crocodile Ever – and Crocodile Facts for Kids
World’s Largest Crocodile
The world’s biggest crocodile which is also the world’s largest crocodile is to be found in the species of crocodiles known as saltwater crocodile. Certifiable records show the largest crocodile ever handled by man is saltwater crocodile measuring 6.2 metres in length and weighing 1,200 kilogrammes. The saltwater crocodiles are found in waters of eastern India, south eastern Asia and northern Australia. In a rare instance, a larger crocodile of the species Nile crocodile was shot near Mwanza, Tanzania and this one measured 6.45 m and weighed 1,090 kilogrammes. Whilst the saltwater crocodile takes the title of the world’s largest crocodiles, they are followed very closely in second position by the Nile crocodiles.
Picture of SaltWater Crocodile
A crocodilian is any reptile of the order crocodylia which include the crocodile, alligator, caiman, and gavial. So there is a difference between a crocodile, an alligator, a caiman and a gavial.
Species of Crocodiles
There are at least thirteen types (species) of crocodiles to be found throughout the world. They are:
- African Slender-snouted Crocodile – found in freshwater habitats in central and western Africa
- American Crocodile – found in Atlantic and Pacific coasts of southern Mexico to South America as far as Peru and Venezuela. Also found in Cuba, Jamaica, Hispaniola, and Florida.
Picture of American Crocodile
- Cuban Crocodile – a highly endangered crocodile found only in Cuba's Zapata Swamp and the Isle of Youth.
- Dwarf Crocodile – This is the world’s smallest crocodile. Found in waters of tropical lowland regions of sub-Saharan West Africa and West Central Africa. Dwarf Crocodiles have a length of 1 – 2 metres.
- Morelet's Crocodile - an endangered species of crocodile found only in fresh waters of the Atlan
- Australian Freshwater Crocodile - found in fresh waters in the northern regions of Australia
- tic regions of Mexico, Belize and Guatemala.
- Mugger Crocodile – this water monster is found throughout the Indian subcontinent and the surrounding countries
- New Guinea Freshwater Crocodile – a small species of crocodile found on the waters of island of New Guinea
- Nile crocodile – getting its name from the world’s longest river, River Nile, the Nile crocodile is an African crocodile which is common in Kenya, Somalia, Ethiopia, Uganda, Egypt, Zambia and Zimbabwe.
- Orinoco Crocodile - found in Orinoco River and freshwater of northern South America. The Orinoco crocodile is an endangered species.
Picture of Orinoco Crocodile
- Philippine Crocodile – it’s also known as the Mindoro crocodile and the Philippine freshwater crocodile. It’s found in waters of Philippine.
- Saltwater Crocodile – it’s also known as estuarine crocodile. It’s the world largest crocodile as well as the largest of all living reptiles. Saltwater Crocodiles are to be found in suitable habitats in Northern Australia, the eastern coast of India and waters of Southeast Asia
- Siamese Crocodile – This is a freshwater crocodile to be found in Indonesia, Brunei, East Malaysia, Laos, Cambodia, Burma, Thailand, and Vietnam. Its highly endangered
- Tomistoma – also known as false gavial or Malayan gharial. It is found in fresh waters of Sumatra and Malaysia. Tomistoma is indeed a freshwater reptile resembling a crocodile.
A Picture of Siamese Crocodile
Diet of Crocodiles
Young crocodiles will feed on smaller prey such as insects and small aquatic invertebrates before taking on fish, amphibians and small reptiles. Large crocodiles will feed on a wider variety of prey including fish, birds and even large animals like antelopes.
Webbed Feet of Crocodiles
Crocodiles have a cerebral cortex and a four-chambered heart. Crocodiles have streamlined body that enables them to swim swiftly. Crocodiles have webbed feet which they use to make fast turns and sudden moves in the water, and to initiate swimming. Also, webbed feet are used by crocodiles for walking in shallower water. Crocodiles’ tongues are not free and as such can not stick their tongues out.
Crocodiles Have Scales
Crocodiles have scales, and the scales have pores that are sensory for sensing. The scales are also secretory for secreting an oily substance that flushes mud off.
Speeds of Crocodiles
Crocodiles are very fast and can reach a speed of 17 KM per hour on land. This would translate to a crocodile doing 100 metres in 21 seconds whilst Usain Bolt, the world’s fastest man, is doing the same distance in 9 seconds. Crocodiles can also do 100 metres in 9 seconds just like Usain Bolt when they "belly run", and even better speeds if they are slipping down muddy riverbanks. Belly running is where a crocodile’s body moves in a snake-like fashion, limbs splayed out to either side paddling away frantically while the tail whips to and from.
Crocodiles have long and sharp teeth for tearing and holding onto flesh, and very powerful muscles that close the jaws and hold them shut. The muscles are only strong in closing the jaws but weak in opening the jaws. When the jaws are closed, you can hold them with one hand and the crocodile won’t be able to open the jaws. A hyena has stronger jaws than the African lion. A crocodile’s jaw is five times stronger than a hyena’s jaw.
Why Crocodiles Rest With Their Mouth Wide Open
Crocodiles like resting with their mouth wide open to release heat in the body as they do not have sweat glands - sometimes, a crocodile may pant just like a dog. Resting with their mouth wide open is also advantageous when a prey comes near the crocodile as it only need just close the jaws.
How Crocodiles Breath Underwater
A crocodile can stay underwater for two hours looking for prey. A crocodile does not have gills like fish for breathing and instead it load carbon dioxide in its muscles and when it does flush out the excess carbon dioxide in its blood into its stomach, the carbon dioxide makes the stomach very acidic which is ideal for digesting the swallowed fresh and bones of the prey.
Life Span of a Crocodile
Male crocodiles grows much larger and more rapidly than female crocodiles. Saltwater crocodiles can grow as long as 6.5 metres and can weigh about 1,200 kilogrammes. Depending on the species, a crocodile can have a life span of up to a maximum of 70 years in some species and stretching all the way to a maximum of 130 years in other species.
The dorsal surface of a crocodile is fully covered with rugged large osteodems which has scales which provides a crocodile with protection in rough conditions. The skin on a crocodile belly and sides is smooth. A crocodile skin can be used to make goods such as purses, handbags, wallets, briefcases, belts, hats, and even shoes.
Crocodiles’ meat is eaten by some people. Crocodiles’ meat is a delicacy in many specialty restaurants throughout the world especially in US, Australia, South Africa and Ethiopia. A crocodile’s meat is somewhere in between that of a chicken and a crab meats.
Temperature-Dependent Sex Determination
It takes a crocodile about ten years to reach the mating age. Once they have mated, the female crocodile lays about 20 – 100 eggs about two months latter in holes she digs on sandy shores, dry stream beds, or riverbanks. The eggs resemble those of a hen but are more oval, slightly bigger and have a thinner shell. The female crocodile, and sometimes the males, will usually guards the eggs for the 3 month incubation period. In the case of Nile crocodile, they have Temperature-dependent sex determination which means the sex of their hatchlings is determined by the average temperature during the middle third of their incubation period. If the temperature in the nest during this middle is below 31.7 °C, or above 34.5 °C, the offspring will be female. If the temperature is in between 31.7 °C and 34.5 °C, male off-springs are born.
Difference between a Crocodile and an Alligator
The difference between a crocodile and an alligator is not clear to some people. The difference is as follows:
- The tendency is for Alligators to prefer fresh-water; crocodiles have a higher tolerance for salty water like in oceans.
- Crocodiles have Dermal Pressure Receptors (DPRs) on every scale covering its entire body; Alligators have Dermal Pressure Receptors only on upper and lower jaws
- Generally, crocodiles grows larger and are more aggressive compared to alligators
- Crocodiles are of the crocodylidae family; alligators and caiman are of alligatoridae family
- Crocodiles have very long, narrow, V-shaped snout; Alligators have wider and U-shaped snouts
- The upper and lower jaws of a crocodile are nearly the same width; an alligator has a wider upper jaw that hid the teeth of the lower jaw when the mouth is closed.
- Crocodiles generally have a lighter olive brown coloration; alligators generally appears blackish
Facts You Should Know About Crocodiles
1. Crocodiles are very good in memory and will remember paths used by animals including people
2. In water, a crocodile will bite a large prey, say a gazelle, hold on, and then rapidly spin its body to weaken it as the limbs are torn off in what is called the ‘death roll’
3. Crocodiles can slow their metabolism and stay without eating for months
4. Crocodiles have very strong muscles for closing their jaws and holding them shut, but very weak muscles for opening the very same jaws.
5. A crocodile can hide upon seeing human only to attack them unexpectedly
6. A large crocodile can be invisible in muddy water only 30 cm
7. A crocodile has the strongest biting force of any living known animal on earth
8. A crocodile needs only one second to complete an attack on man
9. Crocodiles are more aggressive when they are mating
10. Crocodile are very fast even when on land
11. Crocodile will not attack
you on land if you are more than 3 metres away from it
Crocodiles kill More People in Africa than Any Other Animal
In Africa, there are thousands of people who are killed by crocodiles each year. The monster who is doing that is the Nile crocodile. Nile crocodile is the most common crocodile in Africa. Nile crocodiles kill more people than all other species of crocodiles in the world combined. In fact, Nile crocodile kills more people than any other animal on earth. Why Nile crocodile does kills so many people in Africa? This has more to do with the way life of the people is. In ‘remote’ areas where there is no piped water, women and children will fetch water from rivers. It is at the water fetching points that crocodiles and human converges and obviously there is bound to be disaster. Then there are fishermen who use small and weak boats when fishing and sometimes they are also fished by the crocodiles. What would you do if you leave in a place and the only source of water is infested by deadly Nile crocodiles? The dynamics of Nature has the answer that you should risk and fetch your water from that very same source only that you should have many children so that you increase the chances of some of your children growing up to start a family of their own. Certainly, you should have a good answer of your own!
Picture of Nile Crocodile
Dried Crocodile Bile Powder is the Most Lethal Poison
The gall bladder of a crocodile has a liquid called the bile. Dried crocodile bile powder is the most lethal poison if ingested. Are there any scientific studies to prove this? Ask the traditional medicine men and sorcerer of Kenya and Tanzania this question. Myth has it that dried crocodile bile powder is the most lethal poison if ingested by man and as such any crocodile killed by man must have the disposal of its gall bladder witnessed by at least a few of the villagers, otherwise you may be accused of having caused my of the deaths that may happen in the village. It is alleged that dried bile if ingested will disable your nervous system and then your brain and no matter which witchdoctor you consult, you have to kick the bucket come what may. Evil sorcerers and witches are said to make concoction of this bile as spells that always ‘work’. This is a myth – it may have some truth in it, but it may just be a myth as Chinese medicine men are known to make good medicine out of crocodile bill that cures many diseases.
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