By KALANI CHEN-HAYES, age 10

PHOTO: Andrew Gould
PHOTO: Andrew Gould

Crocodiles are reptiles that live near swamps and marshes in the tropical and subtropical regions of the world. One type of crocodile is the Nile crocodile, an African crocodile. The scientific name of the Nile crocodile is Crocodylus niloticus.

DID YOU KNOW?

  • Crocodiles have about two tons of force in their jaws. At any given time, a croc has 64 extremely sharp, hollow teeth and grows between three to four thousand teeth in a lifetime. When the jaws of a croc close they lock together, which prevents prey from escaping.
  • A crocodile has about 150 small bones on its back that act as armor. In fact, ancient Romans used to wear the skin from the backs of crocodiles to protect them in battle. The bones on the back also function as solar panels to absorb sunlight and keep the croc’s cold-blooded body warm.
  • The tail of a crocodile is strong and flexible, and it stores enough protein to allow a larger croc to survive up to a year without food.
  • Crocs have hunted in African rivers since the age of the dinosaurs. They evolved over 200 million years ago!
  • When crocs lay their eggs, the colder eggs in the nest will become females and the warmer ones will become male. Some animals like to eat croc eggs or even croc hatchlings, so crocs must keep watch over their young to protect them from predators. When it is time for them to hatch, parents can pick the eggs up in their mouth, roll them around and gently use their teeth to carefully crack open the eggs.