The Nile crocodile is a representative of the Reptile or Reptile class. This animal is one of the most ancient, unique and dangerous on the planet. The predator is rightly called the “king of the river”, because there are practically no equal in power and adaptability to it. In this article you will find a description and photo of a Nile crocodile, you can learn a lot about this strong and greatest predator.
What does a Nile crocodile look like?
The Nile crocodile looks intimidating and belongs to the Crocodile family. He is huge, very strong and perfectly disguised. The predator has short legs, which are located on the sides of the body, scaly skin, a long combed tail and powerful jaws. The eyes, ears and nostrils of the crocodile are located in the upper part of the head. Reptiles have extremely good hearing and vision.
Nile crocodile looks inconspicuous due to its color. Young individuals are usually gray or light brown in color and have dark stripes on the back and tail. The older the individual becomes, the darker the color. The belly of a reptile has a yellow tint. The massive muscular tail of the Nile crocodile serves as a kind of accelerator and allows you to quickly move in the water. It occupies almost half the length of the entire reptile body.
The jaw of a Nile crocodile holds 65 teeth and is one of the strongest on the planet. A predator can easily hold large animals and crush a bone.
Thanks to the sensory organs located on the top of the head, the crocodile can be almost completely immersed in water. This allows the animal to disguise itself, hiding in the water, leaving only the eyes and tip of the nose on the surface, while its large and long body is hidden under water.
The Nile crocodile looks massive and is the largest crocodile. This predator is the second largest crocodile in the world. The males of the Nile crocodile are significantly larger than the females in size.
The average size of adult males ranges from 3 to 5 meters in length. In this case, body weight varies from 300 to 700 kg. Individual males can reach more than 6 meters in length and weigh more than a ton. The average size of the females varies from 2 to 4 meters, with a body weight of 200 to 500 kg. But there are also individual larger females.
Where does the Nile crocodile live? Behavior features
The Nile crocodile lives in Africa and is one of the largest crocodiles of this continent. It inhabits freshwater lakes, rivers and swamps almost throughout the African continent. The greatest prevalence is in such countries of Africa as Kenya, Somalia, Zambia and Ethiopia. The population of the Nile crocodile is quite high and stable, but in some countries of the continent this species is threatened with extinction.
The Nile crocodile lives in calm water, with a sandy coastal zone. Not often it can be found at a considerable distance from the reservoir. This is usually associated with the search for a new habitat, as well as if the pond dries up. Most often, a crocodile crawls on its stomach, but can run small distances at speeds up to 14 km / h.
Nile crocodile is very experienced and successful in swimming. Usually it dives for 2-3 minutes, but can remain under water from 30 minutes to 2 hours. It sinks completely and silently under water, forcing air out of its large lungs. Nile crocodile swims very quickly underwater. The tail helps to develop speed in water up to 30 km / h. His ears, nose and throat are protected by valves, and his eye is covered with a thin transparent film. This predator has special receptors all over its body. Thanks to which he easily picks up vibrations of water, and finds with what force and where they come from.
The Nile crocodile lives slowly - usually these are rather slow creatures, like many other cold-blooded animals. Most of the time they are on the shore or in shallow water, keep their jaws open to avoid overheating. Opening the mouth is also a threat to other crocodiles. Nile crocodiles are very hostile and territorial predators.
Crocodiles can fall into hibernation, which lasts from May to August. To do this, they dig a hole on the banks of the river. Once underground, where it is dark and cool, the animal’s body temperature decreases, and metabolism, respiration and heartbeat slow down. In this state, energy is minimized. So the crocodile will be able to save enough strength until then, until he needs them.
For many centuries, a large Nile crocodile lives on the planet causing horror, because it is able to instantly and brutally kill both animals and people. Among other animal enemies, the Nile crocodile does not. Only a person is opposed to a predator. Nile crocodile is hunted because of its skin.
The Nile crocodile, combining large sizes and a high level of aggression, creates a very high probability of an attack on a person. Nile crocodile lives near the underdeveloped population and often comes into contact with people. He can attack a person when he stands in the water off the coast, crosses shallow water, crosses a body of water or lowers his legs into the water from a ship or pier.
Less commonly, large and hungry Nile crocodiles can turn a boat over or even attack on land. Most at risk are fishermen and people whose activities are related to water. Also, careless hunters, tourists and travelers become victims of crocodiles.
Nile crocodiles often attack a person, while they are not afraid of people, and perceive them as potential food. Very dangerous are the females of crocodiles who protect their cubs. Anyone who tries to approach the offspring will be eaten.
What does the Nile crocodile eat and how does it hunt?
Adult crocodiles are at the top of the food chain - there are no predators to threaten them. This prehistoric animal eats everyone and everything in its path. Nile crocodile is one of the strongest predators in the world. The Nile crocodile eats quite varied. Crocodile is almost omnivorous. And the older and larger it is, the more food it needs and the larger its prey becomes.
Young individuals can get along with large fish and birds. As they get older, the Nile crocodile feeds on larger animals that come to a watering hole or cross a river. These are zebras, African buffaloes, wildebeests. It can attack elephants, rhinos, giraffes, hippos and even lions. Nile crocodiles hunt by diving completely under water, or leaving only eyes and nostrils on the surface. He always attacks unexpectedly, jumping out of the water and grabbing his victim almost instantly.
In water, the Nile crocodile is very mobile, uses stealth, receptors and power in order to find and capture its prey. It is virtually impossible to escape from him. He bites with an impressive force of 1 ton and tries to drown the victim. The jaw of the reptile is equipped with muscles that contract super fast, which makes the bite lightning fast and allows you to snap the jaw at a speed of 9 m / s.
Nile crocodile attacks prey at close range. He approaches and waits until the victim is in the area of 2 meters from him. The crocodile jumps out of the water at a speed of 12 m / s, and its scaly skin makes it easier to maneuver in the water. The hind legs work like pistons and help push off from the river bottom, and the long tail allows you to accelerate in the direction of prey.
Their ability to successfully camouflage underwater, combined with high speed and explosive power, make Nile crocodiles excellent hunters for large prey.They can tolerate each other nearby and work as a group when attacking large prey.
The teeth of Nile crocodiles allow you to hold the body of the victim in the mouth and pierce it, but they can not chew. However, this is not a drawback - the huge bite force and body power allow Nile crocodiles to easily break bones and cut through the body of a large animal, bite off limbs and drown. They tear pieces from large carcasses and swallow whole. Their stomach is adapted for the digestion of large foods, in which anything is dissolved, due to the high concentration of hydrochloric acid.
When a group of Nile crocodiles share large prey, some of them hold the carcass, while others rotate around its axis, tearing large pieces of meat out of it. This is called "deadly rotation." Relatively small animals, Nile crocodiles mercilessly swallow the whole. On land, they are less mobile. They have a relatively slow metabolism and can go without food for a long time. But if the opportunity presents itself, the Nile crocodile can eat half of its weight at a time.
Like all crocodiles, the Nile crocodile has short legs located on the sides of the body, scaly skin covered with rows of bone plates, a long strong tail and powerful jaws. The eyes of the crocodile are equipped with a third century for additional protection and have special glands that allow them to be washed with tears (hence the expression “crocodile tears”). The nostrils, ears and eyes are located in the upper part of the head, so that the crocodile can almost completely immerse in water, leaving them on the surface.
Coloring the Nile crocodile also allows him to go unnoticed. Young individuals are usually gray or light brown with dark stripes on the back and tail. With age, the color darkens and the stripes become subtle. The abdomen has a yellow tint, such skin is considered the highest quality.
Usually a crocodile crawls on its stomach, but can also walk with its trunk raised. Small individuals are able to run a short distance at a gallop, developing a speed of 12-14 km / h. It also swims fast (30 km / h), making sinusoidal tail movements.
The heart is four-chambered, like in birds, which makes it possible to more effectively saturate the blood with oxygen. Typically, a Nile crocodile dives for 2-3 minutes, but if necessary, can remain under water for up to 30 minutes, and with reduced activity - up to two hours. Being a cold-blooded animal, it has a relatively slow metabolism and can do without food for a long time, but at the same time it can eat up to half its own weight in one sitting.
The Nile crocodile has a pretty good ear and a rich voice range. His skin is equipped with special receptors that respond to changes in water pressure. The jaws have impressive power, which allows them to hold large animals. Usually it has 64-68 conical teeth - 36-38 on the upper jaw and 28-30 on the lower. Newly hatched crocodiles have a special skin tightening in the front of the muzzle, resembling a tooth, which helps them get out of the egg.
The Nile crocodile is large, usually about 5 m, occasionally up to 5.5 m. Weight often exceeds 500 kg, there are individual specimens weighing more than 1200 kg. The largest known instance was killed in Tanzania in 1905: length 6.45 m, weight 1090 kg. Messages about 7-meter crocodiles are not confirmed. On the southern border of the range - in South Africa, Nile crocodiles are slightly smaller in size, their length usually does not exceed 4 m. Like other types of crocodiles, they show sexual dimorphism - females are on average 30% smaller than males. In general, the differences are smaller than many other species.
Crocodiles living in places with colder climates, for example in southern Africa, are smaller - about 4 m. The dwarf Nile crocodile, living in Mali and in the Sahara desert, grows only to 2-3 m.It is believed that such differences in size are a consequence of worse living conditions, and not genetic differences.
Under normal conditions, the Nile crocodile becomes sexually mature by the age of ten, upon reaching a length of 3 m for males, 2-2.5 m for females. During the mating season, males attract females by clapping their faces in the water, roaring, snorting and making other noises. Large males are usually more attractive to females. During mating games, couples “sing” peculiar trills and rub their lower faces.
Egg laying time largely depends on latitude - in the north of the range it falls on the driest season, and in the south it is usually tied to the beginning of the rainy season - November or December. In Zimbabwe, females lay their eggs in September or early October. Favorite places for building nests are sandy beaches, dry riverbeds and river banks. The female digs a hole up to 50 cm deep two meters from the shore and lays from 20 to 85 eggs (an average of 50). Several females can build nests close to each other.
Having laid eggs, the expectant mother closes the nest with sand and protects the incubation period for 3 months. The father is usually also nearby, and both parents attack anyone who is trying to get close to the nest. Despite this concern, many nests are ruined by people, monitor lizards and other animals if the mother exits to hide from the heat or plunge into the water.
Hatched cubs make chirping sounds, and at this signal the mother breaks the nest. Parents sometimes put eggs in their mouth and squeeze between the tongue and the palate to help the offspring free themselves. Then the female takes the crocodiles to the water or carries them in her mouth.
As with other crocodiles, the sex of the cubs is determined by temperature during the middle third of the incubation period, and not genetically. If the temperature inside the nest was lower than 31.7 ° C or higher than 34.5 ° C, then females are born, otherwise males.
Crocodiles that have just hatched have a length of about 30 cm; in the early years, they grow quite quickly. Mother takes care of the offspring for two years. If several nests were close to each other, mothers can take care of the offspring together, forming peculiar crocodiles of a day nursery. For two years, young crocodiles reach a size of 1.2 m and leave their native places, while avoiding the territories of older and larger crocodiles. The average life expectancy of Nile crocodiles is 45 years, there are specimens up to 80 years old.
Recently hatched crocodiles feed on insects and aquatic invertebrates, quickly switching to amphibians, reptiles and birds. The diet of even adult crocodiles is 70% composed of fish and other small vertebrates, despite the fact that a crocodile can eat almost any animal that came to a watering place, with the exception of adult elephants and hippos. The Nile crocodile also eats carrion, although it avoids rotten meat. A group of crocodiles can go hundreds of meters from the shore to get to the corpse of a large animal.
An adult crocodile uses its body and tail to push a school of fish to the shore, and eats it with a quick movement of the head. Crocodiles can also join in a group and block migratory fish, becoming a semicircle across the river. In this case, the dominant crocodiles eat first.
It is known that Nile crocodiles can successfully attack zebras, antelopes, buffaloes, young hippos and rhinos, giraffes, warthogs, hyenas, monkeys, cats, and also other crocodiles. The ability to hide almost completely under water in combination with high speed at short distances makes crocodiles good hunters for large prey. They grab it with powerful jaws, drag it into the water and hold it until it drowns. When the prey is dead, they tear pieces from it and swallow. When sharing a joint prey, they coordinate efforts to tear the body apart, and for this purpose they can push it under snags or stones.
The Nile crocodile is a danger to humans, albeit to a lesser extent than the combed crocodile. Females are especially dangerous during the period of caring for the offspring, when they become particularly aggressive towards any animal approaching the nest. Most attacks occur away from civilization and are not recorded, so the real number of victims is unknown. According to some sources, it is 1000 people a year, according to others - 200. In 2005, a crocodile was caught in Uganda, which, according to local residents, ate 83 people in 20 years. In 2006 in Botswana, a professor of medicine at the University of Washington, Richard Ruth, became a victim of a crocodile.
It is believed that the Nile crocodile has a symbiotic relationship with some birds, such as the Spurian lapwing (Vanellus spinosus). According to some reports, the crocodile opens its mouth wide, and at this time the bird takes out pieces of meat stuck in his teeth. However, these messages turned out to be difficult to verify, and perhaps this is not a true symbiotic relationship.
Distribution and Protection
The Nile crocodile prefers to live along the banks of rivers and lakes and in freshwater swamps, sometimes found in brackish water, in estuaries or mangroves. It is distributed almost throughout sub-Saharan Africa, as well as in Madagascar and the Nile basin. Once inhabited much to the north - the fossil remains of this animal were discovered in Algeria, Israel and Jordan, as well as on the Comoros.
In the 1940s - 1960s, the Nile crocodile was an object of active hunting, mainly because of high-quality skin, to a lesser extent because of meat and the healing properties allegedly available to its organs. This led to a multiple reduction in the number of species, which resulted in the threat of its extinction.
Nile crocodile is widespread in many countries of southern and eastern Africa, such as Somalia, Ethiopia, Kenya, Zambia, the population is controlled and documented.
Nile crocodile is listed in the Red List of the World Conservation Union in the category of minimal risk. Crocodile trade is governed by an international convention in accordance with CITES Appendix I.
The Nile crocodile is an animal that people from ancient times revered and feared at the same time. This reptile was worshiped in Ancient Egypt, and the mention of it as a monstrous Lefiathan is found in the Bible. It would be difficult in our time to find a person who would not know what a crocodile looks like, but not everyone knows what this reptile actually represents, what kind of life it leads, what it eats and how it produces its offspring.
Description of the Nile Crocodile
The Nile crocodile is a large reptile, which belongs to the family of real, living in Africa and is an integral part of it in aquatic and near-water ecosystems. In size, it exceeds most other crocodiles and is the second largest representative of this family after.
Character and lifestyle
Under normal conditions, crocodiles are not very active animals. . Most of them, from morning till night, either bask in the sun on the banks of ponds with their mouths wide open, or are in the water, where they leave after the midday heat begins. On cloudy days, however, these reptiles can remain on the shore until evening. Reptiles spend nights immersed in a river or lake.
This reptile does not like to live alone and, most often, Nile crocodiles live in large groups, each of which can contain from several tens to several hundred animals of this species. Sometimes they even hunt in packs, although, usually, the crocodile is on the hunt and prefers to act alone. Nile crocodiles can easily dive and swim underwater, which is helped by physiological features: a four-chamber, like a bird’s heart, and a blinking membrane, also called a membrane, which protects the animal’s eyes when immersed in water.
It is interesting! The nostrils and ears of Nile crocodiles have one very interesting feature: they close while the reptile dives. Nile crocodiles swim due to its powerful, oar-shaped tail, while it rarely uses paws, and even only the hind legs, equipped with membranes.
Getting out to land, these animals either crawl on their belly or walk with their torso raised. If desired or necessary, Nile crocodiles can even run, but do this infrequently, but only pursuing potential prey by land, or when they are fleeing from another predator or from an opponent who defeats them. Nile crocodiles, though with difficulty, reconcile with the presence of their relatives to a number of neighbors, but to animals of other species, except with the exception of hippos with which they have unspoken neutrality, they are extremely aggressive and violently protect their territory from invasion of strangers, regardless of what species they belong to.
In the event of a climatic threat to their existence, such as extreme heat, drought or cold snap, Nile crocodiles can dig shelters in the ground and hibernate there until the situation outside normalizes. But single, very large reptiles are able to wake up during this hibernation and crawl out to bask in the sun, and sometimes even hunt, after which it returns to its hole and plunges into hibernation until its next outing.
Previously, there was a popular belief that the crocodile had an unspoken alliance with some species of birds that help this reptile clean its mouth with its beaks, extracting pieces of meat stuck between its teeth. But due to the fact that such evidence can hardly be considered reliable, these stories, like the stories of giant crocodiles 7-9 meters long, are considered to be nothing more than legends. In addition, it is difficult to say how so different animals could interact and whether their relationships are true symbiosis.
It is interesting! Interesting relationships develop among the Nile crocodiles and with, living in the same reservoirs as they themselves. Unspoken neutrality is established between these animals, but each of them does not miss the opportunity to take advantage of such a successful neighborhood for their personal purposes.
It happens that female hippos, leaving for some time from their cubs, leave those next to the crocodiles, since a toothy reptile, which not one of the land predators dares to approach, is for their babies the best protector of all possible. In turn, the cubs of the Nile crocodile, while they are still small and very vulnerable, can also, during the absence of their mother, seek protection from the hippos, while climbing onto their backs.
Contrary to popular belief, crocodiles are far from dumb: adults can make a sound like a bull roar, and small cubs that have recently hatched from eggs croak like frogs and chirp, just like birds do.
Males of this species are approximately one third larger than females, while the latter can be visually more massive due to the fact that their body in proportion seems to be larger in girth. As for the coloring, the number of shields or the shape of the head, then Nile crocodiles of different sexes are almost the same.
Types of Nile Crocodile
Depending on where the Nile crocodiles live and on their external features.
Zoologists distinguish several species of this reptile:
- East African Nile Crocodile.
- West African Nile Crocodile.
- South African Nile Crocodile.
- Malagasy Nile Crocodile.
- Ethiopian Nile Crocodile.
- Kenyan Nile Crocodile.
- Central Pharican Nile Crocodile.
It is interesting! DNA analysis conducted in 2003 showed that representatives of different populations of the Nile crocodile have significant differences in terms of genotype. This gave some scientists an excuse to separate the populations of Nile crocodiles from Central and West Africa into a separate species, called the desert or West African crocodile.
Nile crocodile - a resident of continental Africa . You can meet him everywhere south of the Sahara. He also lives in Madagascar and on some other, smaller islands located off the coast of tropical Africa. As the name implies, the Nile crocodile lives on the Nile, moreover, it is found everywhere, starting from the second river threshold and higher.
This reptile is especially common in the countries of South and East Africa, namely, Kenya, Ethiopia, Zambia and Somalia, where the cult of crocodiles is still popular. In former times, the reptile lived much more north - on the territory of Egypt and Palestine, but is no longer found there, since it was relatively recently exterminated in those parts ..
As a habitat, the Nile crocodile chooses rivers, lakes, swamps, mangroves, and this reptile can live both in fresh water and in brackish. He tries not to settle on the territory of forests, but sometimes he wanders into forest ponds.
The diet of the Nile crocodile
The diet of the Nile crocodile undergoes strong changes throughout the life of this reptile. Cubs that have not grown to 1 meter, mainly feed on insects and other small invertebrates. Of which about half are various beetles that small crocodiles especially like to eat. At night, the cubs can also hunt crickets and dragonflies, which they catch in the dense grass on the banks of reservoirs.
After the growing reptile reaches a size of one and a half meters, it begins to hunt for crabs and snails, but as soon as it grows to 2 meters in length, the number of invertebrates in its menu is greatly reduced. And only in Uganda, even very adult crocodiles are infrequent, but still eat large snails and a variety of freshwater crabs.
Fish appears in the diet of a young Nile crocodile after it grows to at least 1.2 meters, but at the same time it continues to feed on invertebrates: large insects, crabs and mollusks like snails.
Important! It is fish that is the main food for adolescents of this species, and in some places it also, for the most part, eats adults who have not yet reached the length of three meters.
At the same time, the reptile tries to hunt for fish that matches its size. A large crocodile will not chase small fish in the river, and, first of all, this is due to the fact that it is much more mobile than, for example, the rather large catfish, which a large enough Nile crocodile prefers to eat.
But it would be wrong to think that Nile crocodiles at once eat tens of kilograms of fish: reptiles with little mobility require significantly less food than warm-blooded animals, and therefore, a reptile weighing less than 120 kg eats on average just a day gram 300 fish. Due to the fact that there are a lot of crocodiles in African rivers, there is a natural regulation of the number of fish species living in the same lakes, rivers and other bodies of water as these reptiles, but significant damage is not caused to their population.
Crocodiles can also hunt amphibians and other reptiles. . At the same time, adult frogs do not eat, although the young growth is happy to eat them. And from reptiles, Nile crocodiles even eat poisonous snakes, such as. and some particularly large lizards, such as the Nile monitor lizard, are also eaten by adult animals. Young crocodiles also try to hunt turtles, but due to the fact that until a certain age they lack the strength to bite the tortoise shell, such a hunt could hardly be called successful.
But birds in the crocodile menu are rare and, in general, make up only 10-15% of the total amount eaten by reptiles.Basically, feathered birds fall prey to crocodiles by chance, as, for example, happens with fledgling cormorant chicks that accidentally fell from a nest into water.
Large adults, whose size exceeds 3.5 meters, prefer to hunt mammals, mainly ungulates, which come to a river or lake for watering. But even young animals that have reached a length of 1.5 meters can already begin to hunt mammals of not too large sizes, such as small monkeys, small species of antelopes, rodents, hare-like and bats. There is even exotic on their menu, such as pangolins, also called lizards, but have no relation to reptiles. Small predators, such as civets, can also become a victim of a growing crocodile.
Adult crocodiles prefer to hunt for larger game, such as Kudu antelopes, Canna, buffalos, giraffes
Cases of eating livestock and people by Nile crocodiles have also been observed. If you believe the claims of the inhabitants of African villages, then several people must be dragged and eaten by crocodiles once a year. To conclude the topic about the diet of reptiles of this species, we can add that Nile crocodiles were also seen in cannibalism, when adults ate the eggs of their relatives or cubs of their own species, in addition, this reptile is quite capable of eating an opponent killed in battle.
Origin and habitats in nature
The species Crocodylus niloticus belongs to the genus Crocodylus (Real crocodiles) of the Crocodylidae family (Crocodile). Unofficially, several subspecies are distinguished, some of which showed a difference in DNA analysis, suggesting possible genetic differences among populations. However, to date, this fact has not been fully studied, and it is possible to speak only about the differences in the size of individuals, which may be due to the habitat.
In countries with a cool climate, the size of an adult is on average 4 m (South African Nile crocodile), while in Mali and the Sahara desert the size of adult individuals does not reach more than 2-3 m in length, which is why they were called Dwarf Nile crocodiles.
The habitat of the species Crocodylus niloticus extends throughout almost all of Africa, in the Nile River basin, south of the Sahara, as well as in Morocco, Mauritius, Sao Tome and Principe, Cape Verde, Zanzibar, Socotra Island and Madagascar. Judging by the fossil remains, this species used to live much more north - in Algeria, Libya, Lebanon, Syria, Palestine, Jordan, the Comoros and was recently exterminated in Israel. In addition, a small population of the species also lives in Palestine today, but in a single place, the Crocodile River.
The habitat is limited to freshwater or slightly brackish lakes, rivers, swamps, and also river mouths. It can be noted that the Nile crocodile prefers to live in more or less calm water, with a sandy coastal zone. It is extremely rare to find the Nile crocodile at a great distance from the reservoir. And this may be due to the search for a new habitat in connection with the drying up of the reservoir at the previous one.
Nile crocodile can not be called herd animals, but they live in large groups and often hunt in groups. Moreover, in each group a strict hierarchy is observed, which does not lead to conflicts. The largest individuals always dominate in groups.
But group hunting is not so frequent, more often individuals lead a solitary lifestyle. At dawn, the Nile crocodile enters the coastal sand and dries in the sun, while his mouth at this moment, as a rule, is open. Having warmed up in the sun, the crocodile returns to the pond for hunting closer to noon.Since the Nile crocodile can eat quite a lot, he hunts almost every day, but in those cases when he is not hungry, at lunch he can either simply swim around the perimeter of his plot, or remain on the coastal zone in a nap. It is impossible to say that a crocodile is ever completely immersed in sleep, because thanks to the organs of touch, he always feels everything that is happening around.
When a group of crocodiles is resting on the same beach, the dominant (i.e. larger) individuals are always in the most convenient places, while the distance between each crocodile is quite respectful. At sunset, the Nile crocodile always returns to the pond for hunting, which continues throughout the night and early morning. Thus, individuals of the Nile crocodile are mostly nocturnal.
Most often Nile crocodiles hunt for fish, but swamp and water birds, small and large mammals, which come to the pond where the crocodile lives, for watering, often become prey. The Nile crocodile awaits its prey, completely immersed in water and leaving only eyes, nose and ears on the surface. He is able to completely and silently swim to his prey at a sufficient distance to then grab the prey by the throat in a sharp jump and also quickly drag it under the water.
Under water, a crocodile either strangles its prey, or waits until it chokes. There have been cases when crocodiles left their prey under water for a while, placing it between the roots of trees, or in crevices so that the meat is softened.
If the prey managed to avoid the attack of the crocodile, then he will not pursue it on land. Very rarely, during feeding, crocodiles climbed more than half of the exit from the reservoir. Crocodiles also will not hunt on the shore. Crocodiles can eat already dead prey, but they avoid meat in which the process of decay has already begun.
The crocodile most often drowns out fish with tail strokes, after which it swallows it. While hunting in groups, several crocodiles drive fish into schools, where they can stun more prey. At the same time, larger individuals are swallowed first by the prey, and their small relatives can only collect the remains after dominant individuals.
Acoustic communication between individuals consists of a fairly extensive set of sound signals. Sounds always accompany mating tournaments. In addition, a characteristic dull moo can be heard during the disturbance of the individual. An angry crocodile makes a hissing sound. Young, newly hatched individuals make loud croaking sounds.
In general, the behavior of the Nile crocodile can be characterized as individual and social. It can manifest itself both in groups and individually. There is even a semblance of intelligence in it, and therefore tricky moves during hunting are possible, as well as the ability to protect and preserve offspring, which is not characteristic of most other reptiles.
The Nile crocodile has the glory of a cannibal, because, due to indiscretion, according to information from various sources, several hundred people become victims of crocodiles in their habitats per year. However, there are no official statistics and it is not possible to confirm or refute this information.
When deciding on keeping the Nile crocodile in captivity, a person must understand the entire measure of responsibility to this animal and its loved ones, which may be next to it. In the presence of a crocodile, a person can never be careless, because in the first place, the Nile crocodile is a dangerous predator with tremendous strength, lightning-fast reaction, as well as all the qualities laid down in it by nature, intended for successful hunting. The crocodile will never become tame, and therefore it is necessary to treat it with caution, not being deceived by its apparent indifference.
Terrarium: taking into account the significant size of the species Crocodylus niloticus, it is necessary to prepare a spacious terrarium. Even for a young individual, a fairly large space is necessary, because they grow quite quickly, and a small terrarium can last no more than 1-2 years. Therefore, it is better to prepare a terrarium with the expectation of immediately on an adult.
For the Nile crocodile, it is recommended to prepare a large pool where he can swim freely. The size of the pool should be at least twice the size of the reptile in length and at least the minimum margin for a U-turn. In a ratio of 1: 1 with a reservoir in the aquatorrarium there should be an island of land above which a heating point should be organized.
The water level in the pool should be at least half a meter. The water in the terrarium should be fresh and free from harmful impurities, such as chlorine. In addition, it is desirable to make the pond flowing and install a sufficient number of filters. Water should always be clean, it is recommended to resort to partial replacement 1-2 times a week. Complete replacement of water in the pool must be done at least 1 time per month.
Substrate: The most optimal type of substrate on land is large gravel with sand, which, if necessary, can be washed and dried. It is necessary to place several large and medium stones and snags in the water. Land access should be convenient and gentle.
Content Temperature: The Nile crocodile is a heat-loving tropical animal, and therefore the temperature should be at least + 34 ° C during the day and at least + 24 ° C at night. Water temperature should be maintained at the level of +28 - + 30 ° С. The warm-up point must be organized in one corner of the terrarium so that the crocodile can control its body temperature.
Lighting: in the afternoon the terrarium should be well lit. In addition, a prerequisite for the successful assimilation of important mineral substances for the body of a crocodile is the presence of an ultraviolet lamp. It is necessary to monitor the daily rhythm and arrange lighting in such a way that a twilight period sets in twice a day.
Decor: unpretentious tropical plants can be planted to create partial shade in the terrarium - they will also decorate the space, but for crocodiles the presence of vegetation is absolutely not a prerequisite.
Nile crocodiles live in free communities, which usually include several groups. Each group consists of animals of the same sex and approximately the same age and size. The dominant role is always played by males.
Each male occupies his own plot, including part of the coast and part of the adjacent water area. Females mostly stick together and even arrange nests in the neighborhood.
Representatives of this species have a very rich communication language, expressed through a variety of body movements and a rich set of sounds.
A reptile of a lower rank always hides its head in water in front of a higher hierarchy. The dominant male swims proudly with his body, head and tail above the water. The slave exposes only his face.
On land, to scare off rivals, the Nile crocodile stands on all four legs, swells and lifts its head and tail high. In the case of rare fights, giants bite each other at the paws and base of the tail. They lurk their victims at a watering hole and at crossings.
A toothy monster jumps out of a pond with a powerful jerk, grabs a victim by the face or leg, pulls it down and drowns, after which it eats slowly. With sharp teeth, he tears large pieces of flesh and swallows them without chewing.
Nile crocodiles collectively hunt flock fish, driving them together in shallow water. Often they grab waterfowl, and manage to knock down their nests with their tail to feast on eggs.
After the meal, the predator lays in the sun to better digest food, and hungry, hides in the shade, saving energy.
An adult eats about 50 large dinners during the year, but can go without food for up to 2 years, limiting energy consumption and using the fat reserves located in its tail, along the ridge and body cavities.
The largest specimen weighed more than 1 ton and was about 8 m long.
Mating occurs at different times, depending on the region. Then the female digs a hole where she lays eggs. They should be near water, but in a place where water does not reach during floods. Crocodiles mate in shallow water. Mating is preceded by a struggle between males. The female usually lays 55-60 white eggs in a hard shell. She is near the nest for the next 90 days until she hears the voices of the cubs. These sounds are a signal for the female, who digs eggs out of the sand and helps the crocodiles get out. The mother collects all the cubs in her mouth (even up to 20 at a time) and carefully transfers them to a shallow reservoir, which she has previously chosen, protected by vegetation.
Dense vegetation should protect the cubs from predators, for example, such as monitor lizards, hyenas, and marabou. Crocodiles that are a little older can become easy prey for large crocodiles, eagles or large fish.
WHAT TO FEED AND HUNTING
Nile crocodile lies in wait for animals that come to the reservoir. It hunts gazelles, buffaloes, wild dogs, and lions. His victim may be a man.
Crocodiles lie in shallow water, and when a victim appears, they attack it with lightning speed, and, holding it tight in its mouth, they drag it under water. Crocodiles cannot chew, so they do not immediately eat the prey, but drag it into the thickets, where they leave it to decompose there. Then the crocodile eats the whole prey. The walls of his stomach secrete a very "strong" gastric juice, which dissolves even those parts of animals that are hard to digest.
GENERAL PROVISIONS. DESCRIPTION
Crocodiles lay eggs on the shore, cover them with silt and coastal vegetation. The female is constantly nearby, guarding her nest with 30-60 eggs, until crocodiles are hatched. And they report their birth in a thin squeak. Then the mother carries the babies in her mouth to the river. Crocodiles grow throughout their lives, and they survive to 100 years, rarely more.
The record length of this large predator is 7 meters, weight - 600 kg. They lead a semi-aquatic lifestyle, inhabit rivers, lakes, swamps. The crocodile has a long tail, which helps him hunt - the blow of such a tail is dangerous even for animals such as an antelope. The tail for the crocodile serves as both an oar and a steering wheel. The color of the back is dark green with small black spots, the belly is dirty yellow. Young crocodiles feed on insects, frogs, fish, and adults catch large animals that came to drink water. He also loves to feast on crocodile eggs.
- The crocodile gender is temperature dependent. At temperatures below 30 ° C, females hatch from eggs, and at temperatures above 33.9 ° C, males hatch.
- The largest of all known crocodiles was 7.5 m long, the smallest species reaches a length of 1.5 m.
- The ratio between the size of the egg and the adult crocodile is 1: 4000.
- A detachment of crocodiles is phylogenetically close to birds.
- African crocodiles, for example, kill more people in a year than other predatory animals.
- Crocodiles from alligators can be distinguished by their teeth: in crocodiles, the fourth tooth of the lower jaw is included in the lateral notch of the edge of the upper jaw. This tooth is visible when the mouth is closed. In alligators, this tooth is also hidden in the lateral notch of the upper jaw, but is not visible from the outside.
LIFE OF NILSKY CROCODILE UNDER WATER
The eyes, nostrils and ears of the crocodile are located at the top of the head. So that the animal can see, hear, sniff and breathe when immersed in water. In the stomach are stones that stabilize the body of a crocodile under water.
The eyes have a so-called third eyelid that protects them from water.
On a jaw sharp conical teeth are placed.
Special muscles in the nose allow you to close the nostrils after immersion.
- The habitat of the Nile crocodile
The Nile crocodile is distributed throughout Africa (from Egypt and further to southern Africa), except for its northern part and the desert regions of the Sahara.
PROTECTION AND PRESERVATION
In some areas, numerous populations of Nile crocodile live. However, other crocodile species that are being killed for skin and meat are at stake.
National Geographic. Super predators. Nile crocodile. Video (00:45:05)
Documentary series The planet’s superpredators, in this film we will see another superpredator is the Nile crocodile. A prehistoric animal that lives more than 3 million years on earth, it eats everything that it encounters on its way, one of the strongest predators on the planet. A look from the inside, we will see the world through the eyes of a crocodile. Super predators. Nile crocodile watch online.
Attack Nile Crocodile / Africa "s Croc Attack 1080i. Video (00:44:56)
The Nile crocodile is an ancient creature, it has been hosted in African rivers since the time of the dinosaurs. But over 60 million years, this agile and secretive reptile has not changed much. The length of an adult crocodile reaches six meters, and the weight approaches a ton. He immediately plunges several meters and instantly cope with such a large prey as a buffalo. Some individuals hold their breath for more than an hour. Such abilities make the Nile crocodile one of the dominant predators on the planet.
On the Congo River, US kayakers Ben and Chris are trying to track down and catch a huge Nile crocodile that killed their friend, a former guide.
Nile crocodile lives in an ordinary Irkutsk apartment. Video (00:02:27)
Nile crocodile lives in an Irkutsk apartment.
When Tuzik was brought from distant Africa, it was only 20 centimeters long. Now the crocodile is 4 and a half years old and it weighs 25 kilograms. Only in the last year he scored 14. So far, the owner copes with it with the help of an ordinary mop. However, in less than a year he would have a bite to eat.
The superpredator is the Nile crocodile. Documentary. Video (00:45:21)
Nile crocodile is one of the strong predators. He eats everything that comes in his way. If you meet him, then you can hardly escape from him. Its huge jaw, which contains 65 teeth, strikes with its strength. Learn more about this dangerous reptile.
Nile crocodile - one of the strongest of predators. He eats everything that comes in his way. If you meet him, he is saved from the outfit you can. His huge jaw, which holds a 65 teeth, is striking in its power. Learn more about this dangerous reptile.
Artadont's Nightmare - Nile Crocodile // Nile crocodile Sub. Rus. Video (00:02:59)
Another holder of powerful jaws feeds more often, this is a large crocodile living in the warm waters of five continents. But these crooked teeth make him one of the dangerous predators themselves. It looks like an orthodontist’s nightmare. It grows more than five meters in length and weighs more than 900 kilograms. The Nile crocodile is the largest reptile in Africa and the main predator of its rivers. Crocodiles have the strongest bite, more than three hundred and fifty-one kilograms per square centimeter. They use this grip to kill prey by holding it underwater until it drowns. They have up to sixty-eight teeth that change throughout their lives to remain sharp, but the jaw of a crocodile is not intended to be chewed. The call of migration drives antelopes and other animals right into the jaws of death. Instead, the crocodile grabs the prey and twists it in different directions to tear off the pieces. Feeding together and grabbing the victim with his teeth at the same time, they help to dismember the body. But there is no salvation from a pack of hungry crocodiles.
Nile crocodile - Nile Crocodile (Encyclopedia of animals). Video (00:26:56)
Nile crocodile - a large reptile family of real crocodiles. The largest of the three species of crocodiles living in Africa, and the second largest in the world after the combed crocodile.
Despite the fact that this crocodile is called Nile, it is found almost throughout the African continent, settling in the floodplains of rivers, in lakes, ponds, and water swamps.
Distributed on the islands adjacent to Africa - Madagascar, Socotra, Seychelles, etc.
On the territory of Mali and the Sahara desert dwarf Nile crocodiles live, adult individuals reach 2-3 m.
The Nile crocodile is known as the cannibal crocodile, in ancient times it was the subject of fear and worship.
Like all crocodiles, the Nile crocodile has short legs located on the sides of the body, scaly skin covered with rows of bone plates, a long strong tail and powerful jaws.
In appearance it is impossible to determine the gender of the crocodile. The male has a penis, but it is removed only during the mating season.
Often you can hear the question - how do crocodiles differ from alligators, caimans and gavials?
The external difference between these reptiles is in the shape of the front of the head - alligators have a wider muzzle, reminiscent of the Latin letter
Warm rivers and marshy ponds where the crocodile and alligator live, local residents pass by. The reptiles are very similar to each other, but the crocodile's face is longer and thinner, and the fourth teeth are visible, even if the mouth is closed. Below we will talk about these green predators, their habitat and interesting details of life. So where and in what country do crocodiles live? What is their life span? Can humans and crocodiles coexist peacefully?
Where does the crocodile live: habitat
The habitat of these reptiles, inhabiting our planet for more than 200 million years, extends to all continents, excluding Antarctica. Any child to the question: “Where does the crocodile live?”, Without hesitation, he will answer: “In Africa!”. Yes, the crocodile also lives in Africa.
There are species that are found in different countries and continents, and there are endemic species - they inhabit one particular territory. For example, a Filipino crocodile lives only on the islands of the same name, while a marine combed crocodile can live in India, Indonesia, and Northern Australia.
The largest and smallest crocodile
Saltwater crocodile is the largest of all representatives of this family. He loves the salty rivers into which the sea water flows. In these places where crocodiles live, people try not to enter or swim. For example, there was a case when, in Malaysia, on the Duzon River, a green monster snatched first a mother from a boat, and then a child. Children and women are most often the victims of these predators when they bathe or wash their clothes in the rivers.
The largest caught (but not killed) individual living in captivity on a farm in an Australian park is the combed crocodile Cassius Clay. It is 5.5 m long, weighs about 1 ton and is a long-liver. Crocodiles live about 80-100 years and grow their whole lives. Cassius lived for more than 110 years. He is very fond of, despite his bloodthirsty past, and is treated to a 20-pound chicken cake on his birthday. The reptile regales them evenly. half a minute.
The smallest crocodiles are not so small. These are South American caimans, which are not more than 1.5 m in length. About the same size, West African freshwater blunt crocodiles.
A country where crocodiles live better than people
Scientists are sure that the crocodile population has such a long history solely because these reptiles have no enemies in the natural environment. The only mammal that a crocodile should watch out for is a human.
People are chasing after profit in the form of handbags and other leather goods of these reptiles, and poaching flourishes in the territories where crocodiles live. This gradually leads to the fact that some species are recognized as endangered. For example, the habitat of the Siamese crocodile was reduced to Thailand and Cambodia, and in Vietnam and on the island of Borneo they have not been able to detect them for many years.
At the famous farm in Pattaya, where crocodiles live in artificial conditions and are cultivated for commercial purposes, many tourists gather. Crocodiles are used in show programs, you can immediately buy a purse (about 3,000 baht) or a belt (about 2,000 baht) from the skin of reptiles.
A completely different situation is observed in Africa (Tunisia, the island of Djerba), where travelers in the Explorer Park can observe the life of crocodiles from convenient bridges in conditions as close to natural as possible. Surprisingly, on a continent where most countries are on the verge of poverty, people disinterestedly care for those who could make a profit at the cost of their own lives. Of course, tourists visit the park not for free, but the cost of admission and crocodile leather handbags is incommensurable.
The life of Nile crocodiles (the largest in Explorer Park reach 5 m) is not too different from their existence in natural conditions. In Tunisia they are fed meat, in the winter at a temperature of + 10-15 0 C they are transferred to heated enclosed spaces. Females lay their eggs in specially designated places, and young crocodiles are kept separately from adults to exclude cannibalism.
What are crocodiles similar to birds and dogs?
The anatomical structure of the crocodile is completely in terms of hunting. His eyes are endowed with a third century, which allows you to see perfectly under water and in the dark. For a long time before the attack, crocodiles lie motionless closer to the sunny surface of the water for better warming up of blood before jumping. Powerful head and tail allow stunning the victim and interrupting the spine in one stroke.
With tenacious teeth, he takes the prey to his vault and “pickles” for some time, then to swallow it without chewing. An interesting fact: in the places of the Ganges where the crocodile lives, the bodies of the dead often fall into the “pantries” of reptiles, which the Indians send into the waters of the sacred river during the funeral rite.
To better digest and move food through the intestines, these reptiles swallow stones like birds. True, the size and weight of the stones is slightly different, sometimes about 5 kg. When the crocodile is full, it rests and cools. For this, like a dog, he opens his mouth. Some researchers claim that crocodiles can live without food for almost a year.
It is necessary to feed the Nile crocodiles in captivity as close as possible to their diet in the natural environment. So the menu of young animals can be large insects, frogs, newborn mice. Adults can be fed rats, live fish, and non-plucked chicken. It is noted that after fish, crocodiles easily switch to eating meat, but if for a rather long period they feed them only meat, then they can refuse fish. But this phenomenon is temporary and, having a little prankish, the pet will eat fish.
Pre-euthanized prey, pieces of meat or thawed fish are suitable for feeding captive-bred individuals who are accustomed to consuming similar foods. But even in this case, the volume of live production should prevail.
Intervals in feeding adults can be 4-6 days, while young animals need to be fed every other day. The amount of food for intake by an adult per week should be 5% of body weight, and for young animals - 10%.
Vitamin supplements in the form of calcium and other important elements that make up vitamin complexes for reptiles must be given once a week to young animals and once a month to adults.
Under good conditions, individuals of the Nile crocodile become sexually mature by about 8-10 years, when their body size reaches 3m for males and 2-2.5m for females.
The mating season begins with males tournaments, which are watched by the female and prefers the largest male. Roaring, snorting, clapping her head in the water - this is not a complete list of the ways males try to attract the attention of a female during the mating season. During mating games, the formed pairs rub on the lower sides of the muzzle and make various sounds.
The mating season begins in the drought season. Mating takes place in water and lasts 1-2 minutes. About 60 days after mating, the female begins to dig a hole, about 50 cm deep on land, in sand.Often in the wild, several females dig holes close to each other and jointly guard the masonry.
One clutch consists of 40-60 eggs. After laying the eggs, the female heaps the nest with rotting vegetation, which in the process of decay creates additional heat, which contributes to better incubation of eggs, and also masks nests from predators. Despite the fact that females, and sometimes males, are very jealous of guarding masonry, they are often subjected to ruin by other predators. But the most common cause of masonry death is the early rains that flood the nests close to the ponds.
The incubation period is on average 80-90 days. The sex of the cubs is determined by the incubation temperature. Young animals in the nose have a small growth (egg tooth), thanks to which they can peck an egg. When biting an egg, small crocodiles begin to make sonorous sounds that are a signal for the female, after which she opens the nest and often together with the male helps the young growth out of the egg, expanding the crack in it with the tongue, and then carry them to the water.
Couples protect the cubs up to 2 years, after which they drive them away from their site. Then the young growth wanders alone along the ponds, trying not to catch the eye of adult individuals who can feast on the young. Having reached puberty, young crocodiles return to their native coast.
When captive breeding of Nile crocodiles, it is necessary to place a sufficient amount of vegetation in the terrarium, prepare a place with a substrate in the form of a mixture of moss, peat and shavings. The substrate should be sufficiently hygroscopic, as the embryos receive moisture not only from the air, but also from the soil.
In order for sexually mature individuals to pay attention to each other, it is recommended to keep the female separately until the mating season. If the female is planted with two sexually mature males, clashes will begin, during which animals can severely injure each other.
The incubation temperature should be +30 - + 32 ° C. Under the substrate in which the eggs are located, there should be water in order to create the most approximate conditions for incubation in the wild.
One of the most formidable creatures that inhabit Africa, is rightfully considered a Nile crocodile. This toothy predator terrifies not only animals, but also people. Nile crocodile - a representative of reptiles from the family of crocodiles. There is an opinion that crocodiles shed tears all the time, there is even such a famous aphorism “crocodile tears” - are such big and strong predators really cry? Of course not. It's just that the whole thing is the special structure of the eye, which is constantly washed by liquid from a nearby gland, which creates the image of a crying animal.
Nile Crocodile Cubs - The Survival of Little Crocodiles
During the breeding season, males in every way attract females, making various movements and making different noises. Nile crocodiles become capable of breeding at the age of 10-12 years, reaching a body length of 3 meters for males and 2 meters for females. Large males are usually more attractive to females.
Egg laying time is from September to December. For the construction of nests, sandy beaches and river banks are selected. 2 months after the successful breeding season, the female digs a hole up to 50 cm deep two meters from the coast and lays an average of 40-60 eggs.
Having laid eggs, the female buries the nest for 3 months. She attacks anyone who is trying to get close to the nest. Despite this protection, many nests are ruined by other animals if the female is weaned. Hatching young Nile crocodile begin to squeak and mother tears the nest. For many of them, the first moments of life are the last. Newborn Nile crocodile babies have a body length of about 30 centimeters.
Cubs of the Nile crocodile are born at the very bottom of the food chain - anyone can eat them. The female carries her cubs from the nest in the mouth to the nearest body of water.The cartilage located in the jaws of the mother allows you to block the jaw at any moment of closure and regulate tension. The female can even block the mouth, opened only 5 cm, which allows you to carry up to 20 cubs at a time, never once having bitten them.
The female has to make several calls, leaving the cubs in danger. While females are not there other predators prey on them. Less than half of hatched babies survive the first month of life. But the surrounding danger and age of one month, can not keep the crocodile cubs from what is inherent in nature - they hunt and kill from the very beginning of their lives. They attack everything small that moves - insects, frogs, fish, cubs immediately grab them.
Mother takes care of the offspring for two years. In two years, crocodiles reach a size of 1.2 m and leave their homes. They are looking for a more suitable place of residence, while avoiding the territories of older and larger crocodiles. The life expectancy of Nile crocodiles averages 45-50 years, but there are long-livers up to 85 years old.
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And what else is remarkable for the appearance of Nile crocodiles?
These animals are the owners of a huge and toothy mouth that can terrify anyone who sees this sight. No animal would like to become the prey of this bloodthirsty creature. The head of the crocodile has an elongated shape, on the top of the head are the eyes and nostrils. Such a location of the organs of vision and smell allows the predator to hide in a pond, almost completely immersed in water.
Adult Nile crocodile grows up to 5 meters in length! It weighs almost half a ton. Armed with sharp and strong teeth, the mouth contains, on average, 68 teeth.
The color of the crocodile's skin mainly has a dark green hue, sometimes black spots appear on the back. But with age, the skin of all Nile crocodiles acquires a paler shade.
Size and weight
How much a crocodile weighs, what will be its size, depends on the type and gender of reptiles. Sea (it is combed) can grow more than seven meters and, accordingly, will weigh about a ton. Dwarf aka West African) grow to a maximum of 1.9 meters, and he will gain weight up to 32 kg (maximum - 80 kg). Crocodiles are animals with pronounced sexual dimorphism, males grow much faster and become much larger than females. Moreover, a carcass weighing more than a ton grows from a baby 20 cm in size.
Observations of the size of the crocodiles and their weight are complicated by the behavioral features and inaccessibility of reptile habitats.
Only observations of captive crocodiles are reliable. The largest crocodile that has ever been observed is a hybrid of a combed and Siamese crocodile named Yai at a farm in Thailand. Its length is 6 meters, weight - 1114 kg.
The length of the largest crocodile, caught alive, is 6.17 meters, weight - 1075 kg (Philippines).
Friendship of people and crocodiles
Zoologists believe that the friendship of people with green reptiles is impossible, and it should not be allowed because the result will still not be in the person’s favor. However, there is evidence of a fisherman from Costa Rica who came out wounded by a hunter five-meter dying crocodile. A man temporarily settled him in his pond, literally fed from his hands.
The fisherman released a healthy alligator into the river, but the grateful reptile began to return. Friendship lasted until the natural death of the crocodile.
In China, there were times when people caught crocodiles and put on a chain near their houses, like dogs. The alligator was fed and watered, and he guarded the household goods. True, as a result, the Chinese grown to a decent size crocodile. ate.
Names: Nile crocodile.
Given the wide range of distribution of the Nile crocodile, several varieties were formed, which are rarely mentioned in the literature and not one of the varieties is officially recognized as a subspecies status:
- East African Nile Crocodile - Crocodylus niloticus africanus ,
- West African Nile Crocodile - Crocodylus niloticus chamses ,
- South African Nile Crocodile - Crocodylus niloticus corviei ,
- Malagasy Nile Crocodile - Crocodylus niloticus madagascariensis ,
- Ethiopian Nile crocodile - Crocodylus niloticus niloticus ,
- Kenyan Nile crocodile - Crocodylus niloticus pauciscutatus ,
- Central African Nile Crocodile - Crocodylus niloticus suchus .
Area A: Distributed throughout Africa, except for its northern part, in Madagascar, Comoros and Seychelles. In ancient times, lived on the territory of Egypt and Palestine, but today it does not occur below the second threshold on the Nile. In South-West Asia (in the Cerka River, Israel), the Nile crocodile was recently exterminated. The species was recorded in the following countries on the African continent: Angola, Benin, Botswana, Burundi, Cameroon, Central African Republic, Chad, Congo, Egypt, Ethiopia, Equatorial Guinea, Gabon, Gambia, Ghana, Guinea, Ivory Coast - Cote D'Ivoire, Kenya, Liberia, Madagascar, Malawi, Mali, Mozambique, Mauritania, Namibia, Niger, Nigeria, Rwanda, Senegal, Sierra Leone (West Africa), Somalia, South Africa, Sudan, Swaziland, Tanzania, Togo, Uganda, Zaire, Zambia , Zimbabwe.
Description : For a Nile crocodile, the length of the muzzle does not exceed its width at the base by more than two times. 4-6 occipital flaps are located in one transverse row and 4 large occipital flaps form a square, the first transverse row of which is bordered on the sides by two smaller flaps. The dorsal flaps are rectangular, oriented in regular longitudinal and transverse rows, the dorsal flaps of the middle pair of longitudinal rows do not differ from the rest of the dorsal flaps. The skin of crocodiles, unlike others, grows with them, so crocodiles do not have a molting process. The eye and nostrils of the crocodiles are in the upper part of the head, so they can see and breathe while the rest of the body is immersed in water. Unlike other reptiles, they have external ears that close like nostrils when crocodiles dive. Another adaptation to life in water is the third eyelid, a membrane that closes the eyes while immersed in water, thus, the crocodile protects the eyes from the effects of water, without losing the ability to see. In appearance, you can not determine the gender of the crocodile. The male has a penis, but it is removed only during the mating season. All crocodiles have a leathery growth at the back of the throat, which blocks the access of water to the respiratory organs when the animal is under water. This allows you to keep your mouth open under water without the risk of drowning. Crocodiles swallow small stones that settle in their stomach and help grind food. According to some researchers, the stones in the stomach serve the crocodile as a ballast. The total number of teeth is 64-68.
Color : Young Nile crocodiles of dark olive and brown color with a black cross-shaped pattern on the body and tail. In adults, the pattern fades and becomes paler.
The size : Nile crocodile reaches a length of up to 5 meters (according to some reports up to 6 meters). There is evidence that Nile crocodiles living in southern Africa (in countries with cooler climates) reach smaller sizes - up to 4 meters. There are two varieties of dwarf Nile crocodiles that live in Malawi and the Sahara desert. Due to adverse conditions, these species reach a size of 2-3 meters.
The young hatched from the eggs are about 28 cm long, reach 60 cm by the end of the first year of life, 90 cm by two years, 1.7 m at 5 years old, 2.3 m at 10 years old, and 20 years old 3.75 m.
Life span : More than 50 years.
Vote : The Nile crocodile is able to emit a scream similar to a muffled moo. He screams only with strong excitement. Young crocodiles, recently hatched from an egg, make a peculiar croaking sound, reminiscent of funny frogs chattering.
Habitat : Inhabits the most diverse water bodies: lakes, rivers, freshwater swamps, water bodies with brackish water. It most often settles outside forests, but also enters forest water bodies.
Enemies : Young Nile crocodiles can be attacked by heron-goliaths, marabou,. Cases of the death of large enough crocodiles from are known. For adult crocodiles, the main enemy is man.
Food: The food of the Nile crocodile is very diverse and changes with age. Adolescents feed on small aquatic animals and, as they grow, large vertebrates are added to the diet. Individuals about 2.5 m long feed on mollusks, and even larger ones - on fish, reptiles, and mammals. Adult Nile crocodiles can attack large mammals such as buffalo and even though fish and small vertebrates make up most of their diet.
Behavior: Nile crocodiles spend the night in the water, and by sunrise they go to the shallows and bask in the sun. Midday, the hottest hours are spent in water, with the exception of cloudy days. In windy inclement weather, animals spend the night on the beach. The maximum length of stay under water for crocodiles up to 1 m long is about 40 minutes, larger individuals can be under water much longer. Crocodiles swim with their powerful, paddle-like tail. Only the hind legs are equipped with membranes, but they are rarely used when moving under water. On land, the crocodile moves on short, seemingly weak paws. When walking, he puts his paws close to the body, and rises above the ground. Sometimes they gallop like. At the same time, they rely on the front paws, and the hind legs are extended beyond the front, transfer the weight of the body to them and then throw the hind legs forward. The speed that Nile crocodiles can reach when galloping is 29 American miles per hour. Growing individuals can migrate far from their habitats when they grow to 1.2 meters. An adult crocodile, as a rule, does not move away from the water and only when its pond dries up, it rushes in search of a new home. At this time, many crocodiles die without reaching the goal.
When hunting a fish, the crocodile beats its tail in order to frighten and stun her; he swallows a stunned fish. Sometimes crocodiles cooperate for hunting, for example, one crocodile blocks an area of water to increase the concentration of fish in it.
Credit: Portal Zooclub
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And the snakes put together. It is believed that in Africa annually about a thousand people, mainly children and women, become victims of these animals. Crocodiles can be found in Central and South Africa, in the hottest areas of Asia, on the islands of the Pacific Ocean, lying in the tropical zone, and in northern Australia. They are also found in the tropics of South America, but there the alligator is more common. (It is not difficult for any naturalist to give a lot of signs that distinguish a crocodile from an alligator. We will refer to the most characteristic difference. For an alligator, if the mouth is closed, teeth are not visible. For a crocodile, two long fangs are visible. They seem to rest in the grooves of the upper jaw and create visibility of a smile).
If you do not take into account several species of tiny from the family, then of all the reptiles, only the crocodile has a "voice". His strange, thick roar resembles either the distant peals of thunder, or the fraction of a large drum. Crocodile teeth have an amazing ability to recover.As soon as a tooth falls out, a new one immediately grows out on the spot. And so all my life. The crocodile is picky. Its gastric juice is so rich in hydrochloric acid that iron arrowheads and even steel hooks dissolve in it in a few months. But, despite this, observations show that the appetite of the crocodile is small. In captivity, he only needs 400 grams of meat per day.
The crocodile has two formidable weapons: scary jaws and a powerful tail. With one tail punch, he can kill an adult antelope or kill her leg. Most often, the crocodile is kept near the shore. Turbid waters hide the predator. He dives silently. And then he rushes to the victim, capturing it, as if in a trap, with his toothy mouth.
Very high eyes and nostrils are barely visible on the surface of a lake or river. The body of the crocodile is under water. Like a submarine, the crocodile is equipped with an amazing system of valves, which when immersed automatically block the nostrils, ears and throat. The crocodile's eyes are unusually susceptible to light, which allows him to see well under water even at night.
Crocodile is one of the few predators that boldly and systematically attack humans. In those places where it is sacred (it is fed there), where the waters are teeming with fish, the crocodile is almost not dangerous. But in others, where there is little fish and game, he is not averse to feasting on human meat. Most often, women are victims of crocodiles when they wash their clothes on the banks of the river or come for water, and bathing children.
When a crocodile manages to grab some large animal, such as an antelope or, it skillfully swings its head off the animal's balance, and then drags it into the water in a deep place and drowns it. It would seem that you can start a feast, but some difficulties arise. The fact is that the teeth of the predator are not suitable for chewing. They serve him only as an instrument of capture. Therefore, the crocodile finishes immediately with only small animals.
The crocodile drags large animals away from the coast and waits until the carcass deteriorates and becomes softer. Only then does he tear it to pieces. Often a crocodile drags its victim into a cave dug under the shore. A peculiar tunnel usually leads into it from the water. And through a small hole that goes to the surface of the earth, air enters the cave.
Here's an unusual incident with one African. He was grabbed by the crocodile’s leg and pulled to the bottom in front of those present. Fortunately for the victim, the crocodile's shelter was only a few meters away. The unfortunate came to his senses in a cave. He was surrounded by skeletons and decaying carcasses. The crocodile was lying nearby. But soon the water began to boil, and he disappeared. Then the African, taking advantage of the lack of a predator, tore open a hole with his hands through which air entered, and ran away. For a long time, houses refused to believe "an alien from the world of shadows." (By the way, one could make good films about Africa with crocodiles in the title role).
There are many varieties of crocodiles. The most common Nile crocodile living in Africa and Madagascar. The female of this crocodile carries an average of 55 eggs. The length of each reaches 8 centimeters. She buries eggs near the water in warmed sand and patiently waits for the offspring to appear. The wait lasts about three months. All this time, the female protects the eggs from robbers: mongoose, pythons, hyenas, and monitor lizards (sometimes people eat crocodile eggs, but the eggs smell like fish).
When crocodiles, buried under a layer of sand of 50 centimeters, come out of the eggs, they can not break the shell. Then they start calling their mother, who seemed to be just waiting for the SOS signal. The female immediately begins to rake sand. This instinct is extremely powerful. Once scientists conducted an experiment. They fenced the egg laying area with a wooden fence. At the first distress signal, the female smashed the fence into chips.
A newborn is sometimes small - some 25 centimeters.But from the moment he was born, he has been rare aggressive, sticking his teeth into everything that comes in his way. Hatching from an egg, the newborn immediately rushes to the water, looking for salvation from many birds and animals - storks, cranes, adult crocodiles, which find the meat of young predators tastier than eggs. Having counted all his enemies, some experts say that out of a hundred newborns, only one manages to survive to adulthood.
Crocodiles live a hundred or more years. They belong to those rare animals that grow until death, but their growth slows with age. It is said that the crocodiles of the islands of the Pacific Ocean and Asia, as it happens, reach 9 meters. As for the Nile crocodiles, recently no hunter can boast that he killed a crocodile longer than five and a half meters.
And the number of hunters is growing. Prices for shoes, bags and suitcases made of crocodile leather are growing, but demand is not decreasing. Toothy creatures that emerged victorious in the struggle against the centuries, according to experts, lived on the planet one hundred million years ago, and now they are dying from the bullets of civilized hunters. Naturally, predatory lizards disappear. Scientists predict the imminent disappearance of the Nile crocodile. But few are sharing their concern. Hunters claim that crocodiles simply move to inaccessible areas, fleeing from the noise of civilization and the hectic neighborhood with humans.
African countries have a different opinion. Many of them limited hunting for crocodiles (created reserves). So, on Lake Victoria in Uganda, a huge number of crocodiles live, the largest in Africa, and perhaps in the world. The waters of the lake are teeming with fish, and a hungry crocodile should only open its mouth to get enough. Crocodiles lie on the shore. Sometimes it is so tight that some settle on the backs of their brothers. They are like fallen trunks of ancient trees, burned by time.
Enemies of a Nile Crocodile
Because of their formidable temper and appearance, these reptiles do not have rivals and enemies in nature, but they are not always able to escape from human hunting. The value of their skin, which is in great demand in the fashion world, causes mass trapping and destruction by humans. In this regard, the Nile crocodile is listed in the Red List of the World Conservation Union.
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How many crocodiles live
It is very difficult to determine the age of the crocodile. The usual method is the method of measuring plate rings in teeth and bones: once every year, when the climate changes from dry to wet, a new ring appears as a result of a change in the growth rate.
Therefore, almost always about the age of crocodiles speak with an estimated degree of probability. According to such estimates, almost all types of crocodiles live from thirty to forty years, although it is believed that large (combed, Nile, swamp, Central American) can live up to 70 years. Some of the largest specimens of combed crocodiles live more than a hundred years.
Crocodile like an animal
The name crocodile is commonly used to identify all reptiles of a crocodile species. But only representatives of the family of real crocodiles can be strictly attributed to Crocodylinae. Based on this, in this article we will consider the features of the crocodile family (with the exception of gavial and alligator)
In the world, 24 species of crocodiles are known, divided into 3 families and 8 genera.
The largest family - crocodile, includes three genera - real crocodiles, blunt, gavialovye.
1st genus - real crocodiles: