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Published by Faizan

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Published by: Faizan on Jan 14, 2009
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is anyspeciesbelonging to the family 
(sometimes classified insteadas thesubfamily 
). The term can also be used more loosely to include all membersof theorder  Crocodilia: i.e. the true crocodiles, thealligatorsandcaimans (family Alligatoridae
)and thegharials(family Gavialidae
), or even the Crocodylomorphawhich includes prehistoric crocodile relatives and ancestors. Crocodiles are large aquaticreptilesthat live throughout thetropicsinAfrica,Asia, theAmericas andAustralia. Crocodiles tend to congregate in freshwater  habitats likerivers,lakes, wetlandsand sometimes in brackishwater. They feed mostly on vertebrateslikefish,reptiles, andmammals, sometimes oninvertebrates likemollusksand crustaceans,depending on species. They are an ancient lineage, and are believed to have changedlittle since the time of the dinosaurs. They are believed to be 200 million years old whereasdinosaurs became extinct 65 million years ago; crocodiles survived great extinction events.
Crocodiles are similar to alligators and caiman; for their common biology and differences between them, seeCrocodilia.
Crocodiles, like dinosaurs, have the abdominal ribs modified into
Crocodiles are among the more biologically complex reptiles despite their prehistoric look.Unlike other reptiles, they incorporate muscles used for aquatic locomotion into respiration (e.g.
M. diaphragmaticus
), giving them the functional equivalent of a diaphragm;
acerebral cortex;and a four-chamberedheart. Their external morphology on the other hand is a sign of their aquatic and predatory lifestyle. A crocodile’s physical traits allow it to be a successful predator .  They have a streamlined body that enables them to swim swiftly. Crocodiles also tuck their feetto their sides while swimming, which makes them faster by decreasing water resistance. Theyhave webbed feet which, although not used to propel the animal through the water, allow it tomake fast turns and sudden moves in the water or initiate swimming. Webbed feet are anadvantage in shallower water where the animals sometimes move around by walking.Crocodiles have a palatal flap, a rigid tissue at the back of the mouth that blocks the entry of water. The palate has a special path from the nostril to the glottis that bypasses the mouth. Thenostrils are closed during submergence. Like other archosaurs, crocodilians arediapsid, although their post-temporalfenestraeare reduced. The walls of the braincase are bony but they lack supratemporal and postfrontal bones.
Crocodilian scales have pores that are believed to be sensory, analogous to the lateral linein fishes. They are particularly seen on their upper and lower jaws. Another possibility is that theyare secretory, as they produce an oily substance that appears to flush mud off.
Crocodiles are very fast over short distances, even out of water. Since crocodiles feed bygrabbing and holding onto their prey, they have evolved sharp teeth for tearing and holding ontoflesh, and powerful muscles that close the jaws and hold them shut. These jaws can bite downwith immense force, by far the strongest bite of any animal. The crocodile's bite force is morethan 5,000 pounds per square inch (340 atm),
compared to just 335 pounds per square inch(22.8 atm) for arottweiler , 400 pounds per square inch (27 atm) for a largegreat white shark , or  800 pounds per square inch (54 atm) to 1,000 pounds per square inch (68 atm) for a hyena.The  jaws are opened, however, by a very weak set of muscles. Crocodiles can thus be subdued for study or transport bytapingtheir jaws or holding their jaws shut with large rubber bandscut from automobileinner tubes.All crocodiles have sharp and powerful claws. They have limited lateral (side-to-side) movement in their neck.There is no reliable way of measuring crocodile age, although several techniques are used toderive a reasonable guess. The most common method is to measure lamellar growth rings in bones and teeth—each ring corresponds to a change in growth rate which typically occurs once ayear between dry and wet seasons.
Bearing these inaccuracies in mind, the oldest crocodiliansappear to be the largest species.
C. porosus
is estimated to live around 70 years on average, andthere is limited evidence that some individuals may exceed 100 years. One of the oldestcrocodiles recorded died in a zoo in Russia. A male freshwater crocodile at the Australia Zoois estimated to be 130 years old. He was rescued from the wild byBob IrwinandSteve Irwinafter   being shot twice by hunters. As a result of the shootings, this crocodile (known affectionately as"Mr. Freshy") has lost his right eye.
LargeSaltwater Crocodilein captivity in Australia
Size greatly varies between species, from thedwarf crocodileto thesaltwater crocodile. Species of 
grow to an adult size of just 1 metre (3.3 ft) to 1.5 metres(4.9 ft). Larger species can reach over 4.85 metres (15.9 ft) long and weigh well over 1,200 kilograms (2,600 lb). Crocodilians show pronouncedsexual dimorphism with males growing much larger and more rapidly than females.
Despite their large adult size, crocodilesstart their life at around 20 centimetres (7.9 in) long. The largest species of crocodile is thesaltwater crocodile, found in northern Australia, throughoutsouth-east Asia, and in the surrounding waters.The largest recorded crocodile is a giant saltwater crocodile measured at 8.6 metres (28 ft) and1,352 kilograms (2,980 lb) shot inAustralia,Queensland in 1957. A replica of this crocodile has  been made as a tourist attraction.
The largest living crocodile known is a 7.1 metres (23 ft) long
saltwater crocodile, inOrissa, India. It lives inBhitarkanika Wildlife Sanctuary and in June 2006, was entered in the Guinness Book of World Records.
Two larger certifiable records are both of 6.2 metres (20 ft) crocodiles. The first crocodile wasshot in theMary River in the Northern Territory of Australia in 1974 by poachers and measured  by wildlife rangers.
The second crocodile was killed in 1983 in theFly River , Papua  New Guinea.In the case of the second crocodile it was actually the skin that was measured byzoologist Jerome Montague, and as skins are known to underestimate the size of the actualanimal, it is possible this crocodile was at least another 10cm longer a large saltwater crocodile that attacked boatsThe largest crocodile ever held in captivity is an Estuarine–Siamese hybrid named Yai (Thai:
, meaning
) (born10 June 1972
) at the famousSamutprakarn Crocodile Farm and Zoo,Thailand. This animal measures 6 metres (20 ft) in length and weighs 1,114.27 kilograms(2,456.5 lb).The largest captive crocodile alive in the US is located in South Carolina. In June 2002, Alligator Adventure introduced Utan. At 20 feet (6.1 m) long and weighing in at more than a ton, "Utan",the largest crocodile to ever be exhibited in the United States, made his new home in MyrtleBeach.Another huge captive specimen was a saltwater crocodilenamed Gomek . Gomek was captured  by George Craig in Papua New Guinea and sold to St. Augustine Alligator Farm in Florida, USA. Gomek died of heart disease in February 1997. When he died, he was 5.5 metres (18 ft)long—as confirmed by St. Augustine Alligator Farm
 —and probably between 70 and 80years old.Yet another enormous crocodile, namedGustaveby the Africans who have seen him, isresponsible for over 300 human deaths, and allegedly ate an entire adulthippopotamus.He also stars in a film titled
.The crocodile's length is said to be anywhere between 20 feet(6.1 m) to 30 feet (9.1 m) long. He lives along theRuzizi River  in Africa.

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