Lessons with Dad: Crocodiles

Hello my curious readers, the Cashmirino Bear Dad here again!

Today we will talk about an animal that is quite scary - the only reason it is so scary is because it can eat me or you with its extra sharp teeth! It cannot be a pet and it most definitely cannot be kept indoors. They are very large; it is actually the largest living reptilian. It has dry scaly skin and lays soft shells on land. They have the natural ability to be good predators, which means they can hunt and eat just about anything! Some people refer to this animal as a ‘prehistoric monster’, as its species has been around for more than 200 million years. This is spooky, isn’t it? I am sure you are guessing which animal it could be!

I’ll give a hint: Some studies have shown that this animal is closely related to dinosaurs!

YES! It is a crocodile!

Crocodiles usually live in rivers, fresh water, lakes and wetlands but sometimes can be found in saltwater. This means it is quite rare to see a crocodile at the beach. Beaches that are to open to the public would not have crocodiles that could creep up so don’t let this stop you from a fun beach activity someday. The saltwater species of crocodiles are the largest types of crocodiles and are mostly found in tropical areas. Some of these continents are Africa, Asia, Australia and the Americas.

Let’s talk about crocodile teeth - they have 64 teeth which are razor sharp! These teeth are constantly being changed so it’s possible that in the lifespan of a crocodile they have lost and grown about 3,000 teeth. If crocodiles have 64 teeth, how many more teeth than humans do they have? 32 teeth! This means crocodiles have double the teeth you have and clearly more than double the mouth size. That is why they can eat such large prey at one time. They eat birds, fish, frogs and shellfish. Do you think crocodiles chew and savour their meals like we do? No, they don’t. They don’t chew food, they only tear and swallow food.

Crocodiles have a very interesting body with each part for different tasks. Because crocodiles are reptiles, don’t expect too much similarity to you. First of all they are cold-blooded, while you are warm-blooded. This means they rely on external temperatures to regulate their internal heat. For example on a sunny day, a crocodile will be hot and on a cold winter day, a crocodile will be cold. But for warm-blooded species like you, you try to keep your temperature constant no matter how hot/cold the day is. Usually, when we get too hot, it’s time to go to a doctor! This is why you may hear Mum/ Dad say, ‘you’re running a fever!’

Crocodiles have a long V-shaped snout on their heads full of their 64 teeth. Their fourth tooth on their lower jaw is visible on their upper lip - just imagine how long that is!

They have a tongue too in their mouth but it is stuck to the bottom of their mouth and cannot move. As humans, we can communicate because we can move our tongues. Try talking without moving your tongue. See, your words are not clear! Crocodiles can open their jaws underwater without drowning but normally move with their heads slightly above water. Their heads can also be fully submerged underwater, normally so they can move very fast without being spotted!

This next fact about a crocodile’s eyes is super interesting. Their eyes can produce tears, just like you but they don’t mean anything and are not associated with any emotions like you have when you cry, it is their eyes way of cleaning them and keeping bacteria out. Has anyone ever told you that you are ‘crying crocodile tears’? It means they think you are pretending to cry!

They have feet too but they are webbed. This means they don’t have individual toes like us; they have thin skin like webs binding them all together. This usually helps reptiles to swim, but crocodiles rarely use them to swim.

They have short legs but don’t be mistaken; they can run very fast holding all their body weight. Do you know crocodiles can weigh up to 1,000 pounds? Imagine how heavy their body mass is.

They can run as quickly as 11 miles an hour when they are on land, that is quite fast. Due to the fact that they can exist on land and in water they are called, ‘semi aquatic’.

Crocodiles have a tail and use it to swim much more than their feet. This tail is very powerful and aside from using it to swim; they can use it to knock their prey into the water. This is why you never get too close to a crocodile unprotected. There are crocodile viewing parks which you can visit with your family, but you must make sure you follow all instructions. Their tails are scaly and jagged and can momentarily knock you out because of the sheer force.

There are 13 species of crocodiles, with the most dangerous being the Nile Crocodile, Black Caiman, Mugger Crocodile, American Crocodile, Gharial, American Alligator and the Saltwater Crocodile. They are classed as most dangerous because of how frequently they attack humans. Crocodiles have the strongest teeth of all animals in the world, so let’s all stay clear away from their grip!

Stay safe, my wonderful audience, and keep tuned as I will be back with more interesting tales, please take the quiz below to refresh your minds on all you have just learnt about crocodiles! Or ask your family members the questions. 

Quiz

Why should humans stay away from crocodiles?

Answer: They are strong and can eat us as prey. They are not pets to live with us.

How many teeth do crocodiles have?

Answer: They have 64 teeth

How many species of crocodile are there?

Answer: There are 13 species.

Does a crocodile use its tail to hug?

Answer: No, it uses it to swim and sometimes as a weapon to slap prey or knock it out.

Can crocodiles breathe underwater?

Answer: Yes they can.

A crocodile cannot walk on land. True/ False

Answer: False. It can walk on land and can be very fast.

Crocodiles love veggies! True/False

Answer: False, they eat meat.

Source: Sciencing

Brittanica

National Geographic

 


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