A crocodile basks in the sun on the banks of the Nile river. He has just eaten, so he will probably not need to hunt again for a long time. He sleeps undisturbed and really looking like his name: crocodile. It means “pebbly worm” in Greek, and a great pebbly worm with legs is exactly what he looks like.
There are 13 species of crocodile in the world, but many people confuse them with alligators. One difference is easy to see up close. When a crocodile’s mouth is closed, all his teeth are visible in an interlocking pattern, but an alligator’s teeth are hidden.
God has made both large crocodiles and small ones. Their size ranges from the 5 foot Dwarf Crocodile to the 23 foot long Australian Saltwater Crocodile that weighs over a ton.
Crocodiles are reptiles and God made them ectothermic, or cold-blooded like all reptiles, meaning a crocodile’s body has no way of heating itself. In cold weather, a reptile can’t move very well and he cannot digest his food, so he must bask, or lay in the sun. When it is too hot, a crocodile will retreat to the water or mud to cool off. God made most reptiles to move slowly and conserve energy, but not the crocodile. An attacking crocodile can move swiftly on land or in the water. The Nile crocodile can run 30 miles per hour.
A crocodile is a powerful hunter and will eat almost anything. Crocodiles have a very low metabolism, and a large adult will go an entire year without eating simply because he doesn’t need to. But they are very efficient hunters as well being powerful, and their long tails and streamlined bodies are essential for underwater attacks. A crocodile usually lays in wait for his prey, camouflaged in tall grass or in the mud, but when he attacks, he is swift and deadly. God gave him eyes and nostrils on the top of his head so he can be almost completely submerged but still able to breathe and watch. When only his head is above water, he is very hard to see.
A crocodile usually holds its breath for about 15 minutes but he can stay underwater for an amazing 3 hours. When underwater, his ears and nostrils close tightly. He also has special see-through inner eyelids that protect his eyes. If he catches prey while underwater, his tongue acts like a stopper and closes his throat. God made the crocodile even with the ability to eat underwater! He can also expand his lungs, adjusting his ability to float.
God created unusual scales for the crocodile. Every scale has a tiny pit called a dermal pressure receptor. these pits help the crocodile to detect changes in water salinity. Crocodiles have been known to migrate long distances to find water. It is thought that they might also have a homing instinct, because they have been known to travel up to 250 miles to return home after being relocated.
A crocodile can have a scary 86 teeth at a time, all of which are replaced 2 or 3 times per year. they also have the most crushing bite of any animal on the planet, with 5,000 pounds of pressure per square inch, or psi. Even a Great White shark has only 400 psi and human’s strongest bite has 200 psi. Not surprisingly, crocodiles are at the top of the food chain and can live up to 70 years in the wild.
To many people crocodiles are frightening. With their teeth, and their claws and predatory instincts, the crocodile would not be anyone’s first choice for a pet. But they are wonderfully made by the Creator of all Things, and He made them just as He wanted them.