National Geographic Society

  • Connect:

Crocodile Facts

Photo: A Nile Crocodile

Photo: A Nile Crocodile (View larger version)

Photo by iStockPhoto

Published
  • The Nile crocodile is the world’s largest reptilian predator.

  • The Nile crocodile has over 60 teeth; if any fall out during attacks on its prey, a new one replaces it.

  • The muscles that close a crocodile's jaws are capable of generating enormous power, yet the muscles that open the jaws have little strength. Even a rubber band around the snout of a crocodile is sufficient to prevent it from opening its mouth.

  • The eyes, nose and ears are high up on the top of the skull, so that the crocodile can be almost completely submerged, yet still hear, see and breathe.

  • While submerged, a protective membrane closes over a crocodile's eyes - like swimming goggles.

  • Crocodiles have a very good sense of smell with large olfactory lobes in the brain.

  • Crocodiles are cold-blooded and rely on the temperature of the sun and water to warm up.

  • Crocodiles do not normally chase their prey - their typical hunting strategy is one of surprise, lunging at prey, and they are able to use the tail and powerful hind legs to spring out of the water.

  • Crocodiles only eat about fifty full meals a year and can go for long periods without eating; nesting females generally fast.

  • The female Nile crocodile is an attentive parent, guarding its nest of sixty eggs for the entire incubation period of ninety days and the hatched young for six weeks.

  • Saltwater crocodiles are the largest crocodilians on Earth. They are excellent swimmers, often spotted far out to sea, and can live for up to 70 years.

  • Crocodiles are the world’s most social reptiles, and Nile crocodiles sometimes hunt cooperatively.

  • The males are territorial, patrolling and defending a length of shoreline that may extend up to 50 meters (165 feet) out into the water.

  • Sometimes crocs die in bizarre circumstances – one was found dead with a large terrapin stuck in its throat.

  • A crocodile in a park in the Ukraine accidentally ate a mobile phone dropped by a visitor. It continued to ring inside the animal’s stomach!
1 comments
Mark Calkin
Mark Calkin

Hi, first line says Nile is largest then 5th line up from bottom says Saltwater is largest !!!  Would be nice to see this mistake corrected i.e. general consensus is that the Saltie is largest. 


I would also question the statement that Crocodiles are the world's most social reptile; is there sufficient scientific study of all other reptiles to be sure?