Nile Crocodiles Facts!

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large_old_male_nile_crocodille
A very large old male nile crocodille. Image credit: Steve Slater (used to be Wildlife Encounters), cc2.0

Nile Crocodiles Facts!

A very large old male nile crocodille. Image credit: Steve Slater (used to be Wildlife Encounters), cc2.0
A very large old male nile crocodille. Image credit: Steve Slater (used to be Wildlife Encounters), cc2.0

The Nile Crocodiles are the second largest crocodile species in the world, and the largest species in Africa.

Physical Features

Nile_Crocodile_Crocodylus_niloticus
Nile Crocodile (Crocodylus niloticus) by berniedup, CC BY-SA 2.0

It controls its own body temperature by entering the water when it is hot and basking in the sun when cool. It is very fast in the water, and is surprisingly fast on land as well but when running on land it tires quickly. It has quick reflexes, and is equipped with a good sense of smell and night vision. Also in the scales along the sides of its jaws there are sensory pits that detect vibrations and movements in the water. It has nictitating membranes, which is a protective fold of skin that protects the eyes of the croc, and has lachrymal glands that cleanse the eyes with tears (crocodile tears).

Nile Crocodiles can stay almost entirely submerged in the water because its eyes, ears and nostrils are situated on the top of its head. This feature allows it to stay hidden from its prey. It can open its mouth to catch and hold prey underwater without water entering the throat – there is a special valve in the back of its throat that enables this function.




Prey

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Nile Crocodile feeding on a dead Wildebeest, in the Masai Mara, showing its terrifying set of teeth. Image credit: Arturo de Frias Marques cc4.0

The Nile crocodile has a very strong bite that enables it to bite and hold onto its prey while dragging it into the water. The teeth of the croc are designed to sink into flesh to hold onto the prey. Most of its terrestrial prey is caught by ambush attack when they come close to the water to drink. The Nile crocodile is an opportunistic predator (it also feeds on carrion), and can take on almost any animal that is unfortunate enough to come within its range. It is a very aggressive animal and is an apex predator.

Crocodile Hatchlings

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Juvenile Nile Crocodiles by Conservation Concepts, cc2.0

The female digs a hole in the bank and deposits her eggs. She guards her eggs throughout the incubation period. When the eggs are about to hatch the young make peeping noises that alerts the female to dig up the nest. Despite having very strong jaws the croc uses them very gently when handling the young. She even helps the young to hatch by carefully rolling and squeezing the eggs in her mouth. Once the eggs are fully hatched she carries the hatchlings to the water in her mouth. During the incubation period the adult is very vigilant about the eggs, despite this effort the eggs do get raided by other animals and hatchlings are also defenseless to predation.

Nile crocodiles are featured in the following books:
25 Top Predators in the World
25 Most Deadly Animals in the World
25 River Monsters
101 Facts… Crocodiles!

The YouTube video below is a collection of videos about Nile Crocodiles. The list of videos featured is underneath.

The Playlist:

  1. Underwater Encounter with the Nile Crocodile – Swimming with Crocodiles – Episode 1 – BBC Two
  2. The Nile Crocodile – Wild Africa – BBC
  3. Baby Nile Crocodiles – [easyazon-link asin=”B005WGC7JO” locale=”us”]King Croc[/easyazon-link] – BBC Animals
  4. Crocodiles vs wildebeest – BBC wildlife
  5. A river full of hungry crocodiles wait for other African animals to take a swim – BBC wildlife
  6. The amazing power of crocodile teeth – BBC wildlife
  7. Nile Crocodile vs Wildebeest: Deadliest Showdowns (Ep 9) – Earth Unplugged
  8. Croc vs. Wildebeest & Gazelle by NationalGeographic
  9. [easyazon-link asin=”B005WGC7JO” locale=”us”]World’s Deadliest[/easyazon-link] – Croc Attack! by NatGeoWild
  10. [easyazon-link asin=”B005WGC7JO” locale=”us”]World’s Deadliest[/easyazon-link] – Crocs Kill with Strongest Bite by NatGeoWild




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