CROCODILE HABITAT: Where does it live?

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One of the families of reptiles that for millions of years have populated and remain on Earth today are the crocodiles (Family Crocodylidae). They appeared during the Eocene period, more than 50 million years ago, and like all reptiles, they are phylogenetically (according to their evolutionary biological history), related to birds. Scientifically, the common term "crocodile" refers exclusively to species of the Family Crocodylidae. However, in a generalized way, other semi-aquatic predatory reptiles, such as alligators, alligators or gharials, are still called crocodiles.

Where does the crocodile live? That eats? How does it reproduce? These are just some of the more common unknowns about "true crocodiles." For this reason, at Ecologista Verde we have prepared this article about crocodile habitat and its main characteristics.

Where the crocodile lives: its habitat according to species

We know that we can find crocodiles almost on five continents, as they are one of the most feared predators both in America and Africa, as well as in Asia and Australia (Oceania). But exactly What is the habitat of the crocodile? What environmental requirements do you need for your survival?

Without a doubt, the most limiting factor for crocodiles to develop all their vital functions is that they are in semi-aquatic habitats, preferably in areas of tropical regions. In this way, crocodiles inhabit both freshwater ecosystems (rivers, lakes, wetlands and any other type of natural water basin), as well as in ecosystems where there is brackish water (estuaries or mangroves).

Let's get to know some of the crocodile species that inhabit these ecosystems:

Crocodiles of africa

  • Dwarf crocodileOsteolaemus tetraspis).
  • West African or desert crocodile (Crocodylus suchus).
  • Nile crocodile (Crocodylus niloticus).
  • African snout crocodile (Mecistops cataphractus).

Asia-Australia crocodiles

  • Marine crocodile (Crocodylus porosus).
  • Marsh Crocodile (C. palustris).
  • Siamese crocodile (C. siamensis).
  • Australian freshwater crocodile (C. johnsoni).

Crocodiles of America

  • Cuban crocodile (Crocodylus rhombifer).
  • Mexican crocodile (C. moreletii).
  • American crocodile (C. acutus).
  • Orinoco crocodile (C. intermedius).

Crocodile characteristics

The different species of crocodiles share a series of physiological and behavioral characteristics, among which are:

  • Have very heavy bodies and thick skin and dry, with a scaly and hard morphology, which gives them great resistance and robustness.
  • Are very long-lived animals They can live up to fifty or eighty years.
  • All are excellent swimmers during the time they are submerged in the water, preferably at night.
  • They have a great capacity for stand still, waiting to stalk their prey at the most opportune moment or simply to enjoy the hours of sunshine during the day.
  • The opening of their huge jaws allows them to regulate their body temperature and adapt to the ambient temperature.
  • Another curious fact about their jaws is that they have large and powerful muscles for their closing, since they are their tool to catch their prey, but their opening muscles are not barely developed compared to those for closing.
  • Are able to camouflage with the medium in which they are, either on rocks, ground or even in bushes. This is used as a predatory technique. Here you can learn more about these and 20+ other animals that camouflage themselves.
  • Regarding how crocodiles move, it is possible to differentiate between when they do it in the aquatic environment that they do swimming and using their legs and tail for impulse and direction, or when they do it in terrestrial ecosystems, in which they advance with their short limbs, while, most of the time, they drag their stomachs on the ground. When they have to travel long distances, they use their tail, lift their body slightly off the ground and reach 18 km / h in the race.
  • By having their nostrils and eyes on the top of their heads, they are able to breathe and see, while the rest of their body remains submerged in the water.

To know more characteristics of these large reptiles, such as how crocodiles reproduce and what they eat, let's move on to the following sections.

How crocodiles reproduce

The crocodile reproduction, being reptiles, it is oviparous type. Males and females mate, carrying out internal fertilization. When it comes time to lay the eggs, the females bury them, while building nests using twigs and sticks.

But the most surprising thing about the reproduction process of crocodiles, and of other reptiles, is that the temperature directly influences the determination of the sex of the future crocodiles that will be born, a phenomenon that is known as "temperature-dependent sex determination"(SDT). In this way, if the eggs are incubated at an approximate temperature of 33 ºC, the individuals that will hatch the egg will be males, while if the incubation temperature was slightly lower (about 30 ºC), female crocodiles will be born .

You can learn much more about this type of reproduction in this other article about What are oviparous animals.

What crocodiles eat

Worldwide known as one of the most feared predators of the animal kingdom, adult crocodiles preferably feed on live prey that hunt with their gigantic and powerful jaws. Your diet includes a large variety of animals of all groups (mammals, birds, fish, amphibians, other reptiles and even invertebrates). Each species of crocodile will feed in greater quantity on those prey that predominate in its natural habitat.

Once the hard and sometimes long wait for the right moment of the attack is over, the crocodile gobbles brutally at the prey, grabbing it with its powerful jaws and driving its sharp teeth into them. On numerous occasions, when they are in terrestrial areas, crocodiles drag their prey towards the water, shaking it and tearing it with their teeth to be able to cut and ingest it, since they are unable to chew. The crocodile bite is undoubtedly the most powerful of the entire animal kingdom, making use of some 1,800 kilos of force at the time of attack on the dam. Young crocodiles, on the other hand, usually feed exclusively on crabs, frogs and insects.

Find out more about these impressive reptiles in this other Green Ecologist article on the Main Characteristics of the crocodile.

If you want to read more articles similar to Crocodile habitat: where does it live?, we recommend that you enter our Wild Animals category.

  • Rodríguez, M. A. (2000) Crocodiles (Archosauria: Crocodylia) of the Neotropical Region. Colombian biota, Volume 1 (2), pp: 135-140.
  • Escibedo, A. H. (2000) Activity periods and effect of environmental variables in crocodiles (Crocodylus acutus Cuvier 1807): Evaluating the methods for determining the visible fraction. Applied Ecology, Volume 2 (1).
  • Christopher A. (2003). Phylogenetic approaches toward crocodylian history. Annual Review of Earth and Planetary Sciences , Volume 31, pp: 360.
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