Crocodiles Have 24 Very Sharp Teeth – But They Never Chew Food!
The first of our crocodile facts tells us about their teeth. While it is true that they have 24 very sharp teeth in their mouths, crocodiles very rarely – if ever – use them to chew their food. Instead, these teeth are used to grab hold of, grasp and crush food and prey. Believe it or not, crocodiles actually have another method of chewing their food. They will swallow stones, which enter their stomachs and grind food up for them. Their jaws can exert a tremendous amount of pressure when they close, but need little to keep them shut.
Crocodiles and Alligators Have Very Different MouthsThe next of our crocodile facts explains how to tell them apart from their distant relatives the alligator. Take a look at the mouth of a crocodile, and you will always be able to see their fourth tooth on their lower jaw – even when it is shut. In comparison, an alligator will always have a visible groove where that tooth should be. Secondly, but less obviously, crocodiles have salt glands in their jaws, which mean that they can ingest salt water, and swim in it. Alligators do not have these glands, and therefore cannot tolerate salt water. Finally, you’re more likely to find alligators in sub-tropical areas than crocodiles.
Crocodiles Swim Using the Power of Their Tails
In fact, this is all they use to help them power through the water. They can reach speeds of 25 miles per hour by using their tail alone and can use it to help them stand upright in water for as long as three hours. They can also jump in water to a distance of many feet at a time. However, the same tail is not quite as powerful for them on land. They can usually only manage short, rapid bursts of movement with their tail before they tire out.
A Crocodile’s Heart Has 4 Chambers
Strangely, this is pretty much the same as most types of bird, and their hearts will behave in the same way as those of other mammals when they are on dry land. However, when the crocodile is entering water and swimming, diving or jumping, its heart will behave like a three-chambered organ, similar to other reptiles. This enables the crocodile to stay underwater for longer periods.
Crocodiles Kill and Eat Their Prey by Drowning Them
Crocodile facts regarding how they find and kill their food are very interesting. Typically, they like to eat rats, snakes, smaller mammals, birds and fish. They will hunt their prey, make a grab for them, and, instead of killing them outright, will drag them underwater until they are drowned. Once the prey is dead, the crocodile will bring it up to the surface of the water to consume.
Crocodile Skin Is Highly Prized and Valuable, Particularly in Tribal SocietiesThe next of our fascinating crocodile facts is a rather sad one. In many tribal societies, crocodile skin is still valued very highly, particularly amongst higher castes. The skin from the belly is considered to be best quality part of the crocodile, and many poachers will attempt to ensnare crocodiles at nighttime to kill them for their skin. Very often the poachers will stun the crocodiles with a spear, then skin them alive in their boats. In recent years poaching has reached epidemic levels, threatening all 23 different species of crocodile with extinction.
Baby Crocodiles Can Make Noises From Inside Their Eggs Before They HatchThis is another very interesting one of our crocodile facts, and concerns how baby crocodiles alert their mothers to the fact that they are ready to hatch properly. From within the shell of the egg, which is often buried in sand, the baby will make small noises, which the mother will be able to hear. She’ll then dig up the eggs from the sand, defend the babies until they hatch, and take them to the river where they’ll be able to feed off insects in the water.
Crocodiles Have Amazing Night Vision
During the night you’ll very often be able to spot crocodiles underwater as their eyes appear as red dots. Generally speaking, their eyesight is excellent, but it improves in the evening. However, their highly visible eyes can also make them more susceptible to being hunted as we saw in one of our previous crocodile facts.
Crocodiles Typically Only Eat 50 Meals a Year!
Given their size and strength, this might seem like a particularly odd addition to our crocodile facts, but nevertheless it still holds true. Typically, they will only eat around 50 full meals a year. Most of the time they fast. This is especially true of nesting females who do not eat at all during this entire period.
The Crocodile’s Eyes, Ears and Nose Are Always High Up in Their Skull
This is so that they can be almost totally submerged in water, yet still able to breathe, hear and see. Crocodiles generally have a particularly keen sense of smell and their brains have large olfactory lobes which aid this sense all the more. When a crocodile is submerged in water, a protective membrane will surround their eyes, almost like swimming goggles protect our eyes when we swim. This is so they can continue to see underwater.
99% of All Young Crocodiles Are Eaten in their First Year of Life
Whilst the creatures responsible for this are usually larger types of fish, birds and other reptiles, sometimes adult crocodiles will consume their young. Crocodile eggs are unfortunately considered a delicacy by some humans, though more often than not will be eaten by the same types of birds or aquatic life that eat the baby crocodiles themselves.
The Temperature of a Crocodile Egg Can Determine Its Gender
One of our most astonishing crocodile facts concerns how the baby crocodile develops in the nest. If the temperature of the egg in there is 88.8 Fahrenheit, a male will develop. If it is either above or below this temperature then a female crocodile will hatch.
The Phrase “Crocodile Tears” Really Does Apply to Crocodiles as well as Humans!
We’re familiar with the phrase to cry crocodile tears, but many people don’t realize the origins of the saying. Crocodiles can actually appear to be weeping, particularly while they eat. This is because as they chew, air gets pushed through their sinuses into their tear ducts and leaks from their eyes, making it look like they’re actually crying. Of course, they’re not and it is fake, which is where we get the notion of crocodile tears from. The phrase means appearing to cry, when you’re actually not feeling emotional.
Crocodiles Are Actually Related to DinosaursThe next of our fascinating crocodile facts tells us about their history. The first time a crocodile-like species appeared on earth was around 240 million years ago – around the same time as the dinosaur. The two are in fact related. However, the first incarnation of the crocodile was only around three feet in length and stood (and ran) on two feet instead of four! We can still see a throwback to this early crocodile in their current form – crocodiles have shorter fore limbs than hind limbs.
If You See a Crocodile With Its Mouth Open Out of Water, Don’t Panic!Many people automatically assume that if they see a crocodile out of water with its mouth open, that they are in immediate danger and should run away. This isn’t actually always the case. A crocodile will actually sit (or lie) with its mouth open as a way of simply cooling off. A crocodile with its mouth wide open might look scary but isn’t actually a sign of aggression towards anyone or anything.
Crocodile Facts – Facts about Crocodiles Summary
Facts about Crocodiles tell us that these reptiles can vary drastically in size from just four feet in length to as much as 23 feet. Although they have ultra-sharp teeth, they never chew their food. They tend to kill their prey by drowning it and will only then bring them up to the surface of the water to eat. However, they will only consume around 50 full meals a year, fasting the rest of the time. Finally, it’s perfectly alright if you see a crocodile out of water with its mouth open. Most people would panic, and consider this a sign of aggression, but in actual fact it means the crocodile is trying to cool off.