Crocodiles can swim just with the help of their powerful tail with 40 km (25 mi) per hour, and can stand underwater 2-3 hours. On land they can burst on short rapid races, but they get tired very quickly. They can also execute jumps out of the water, a several meters long.
A farmed crocodile reaches 1.5 m (5 ft) in length in just one year. In the wild, without enough and constant food supply, it requires 3 years to reach the same length.
Each crocodile jaw carries 24 sharp teeth meant to grasp and crush, not to chew. That’s why they swallow stones that grind the food inside their stomachs (the stomach stones also serve as ballast). The teeth are continuously replaced along the crocodile’s life.
Crocodiles can exert enormous pressure when closing their jaws, but the force for opening them is so weak, that an adhesive band is enough to keep a large crocodiles’ jaw shut up. The powerful jaws can be extremely delicate, working like pencils, when removing offspring from the nest. Still, beware at the tail: it inflicts powerful blows.
Crocodiles display increased aggressiveness during the mating season (linked to the monsoon).
The crocodiles have a four-chambered heart like in birds (their closest relatives) and mammals, for an active life. Still, when diving, the heart behaves like a three-chambered reptilian heart, enabling them to stay more underwater.
Saltwater crocodiles prefer to take prey from the water’s edge. These patient predators will float for hours on end, eyes focused on the bank, waiting for a thirsty animal to approach for a drink. When a victim is spotted, the crocodile drops below the surface, inches forward to within striking range, then launches out of the water with a violent, bone-crushing attack. Hapless animals that don’t get out of the way are dragged beneath the water’s surface and drowned.
The saltwater crocodile is the largest reptile in the world, and perhaps the most dangerous. Along with alligators, saltwater crocodiles are responsible for more human fatalities per year than any other predator on earth.
If you turn on a lantern at night in waters populated by crocodiles, you will see pairs of shiny red dots. These are the crocodiles’ eyes which have a layer called tapetum behind their retina, containing crystals that reflect light and make possible the night vision.
Crocodiles can live up to 80 years!
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