Crocodiles are an extremely interesting species of semi-aquatic predators . These animals belong to the order of aquatic vertebrates and received the status of the largest individuals of the reptile species. Historically, crocodiles are considered the ancient descendants of dinosaurs, since this species is more than 250 million years old. By right, this species is unique, since for such a huge period of existence, its appearance has not changed. Surprisingly, according to the features of the internal structure, crocodiles have more in common with birds, although they are a reptile species. The name "crocodile" originates from the Greek word "crocodilos", which means "worm." It is likely that in ancient times the Greeks compared a crocodile with a reptile with a lumpy skin, and a worm, characterized by its long body.
Types of Crocodiles
At the moment, 23 species of crocodiles are formed. These species are combined into several genera and 3 families.
Crocodilia squad under review includes:
- Real crocodiles (13 species);
- Alligators (8 species);
- Gavialovyh (2 species).
General characteristics of the detachment of real crocodiles
The detachment of real crocodiles includes 15 species of predators, which differ in external features and habitat. As a rule, most crocodiles have a name associated with their common habitat.
These crocodiles are divided into the following types:
Saltwater (or combed , marine) crocodile . This representative has a distinctive feature in the form of crests in the eye area. The appearance of this species inspires fear because of its huge size. By right, this species is considered the largest and most dangerous predator among crocodiles. Body size can reach 7 meters in length. You can meet this representative in Southeast Asia and Northern Australia.
Nile crocodile . The most dimensional view in Africa. It is the second largest after a saltwater crocodile. The representative body of this representative has always been the subject of debate. But officially registered reaches no more than 6 meters.
Indian (or swamp) crocodile or mage . By the standards of the whole species, the Indian crocodile is the average representative. The size of the male is 3 meters. This species is better adapted to land than others and can spend most of its time there. Settled the territory of India.
American (or pointed) crocodile . This representative can reach the size of a Nile crocodile . It is considered a dangerous reptile, but it attacks humans extremely rarely. The name "sharp-witted" received due to its elongated and narrow jaws. The population of this species is in South and North America.
African narrow-crocodile . A crocodile is considered to be narrow-winged due to its specific structure of the mora. The narrowness and slenderness of the jaws allows this species to easily cope with fishing. The species is listed as endangered in the Red Book. Recent species have been preserved in the territory of Gabon in Africa.
Orinok crocodile . The most representative representative of South America. It has a narrow muzzle, which helps to get marine life for food. This representative is most affected by poachers, as his skin has a lot of weight on the black market.
Australian narrow-crocodile or Johnston crocodile . A relatively small representative. The male is 2.5 meters long. Settled the northern coast of Australia.
Philippine crocodile . A population of this species is found exclusively in the Philippines. External difference lies in the wide structure of the muzzle. Philippine crocodile is considered extremely aggressive. But since its habitat is far from human settlements, attacks are extremely rare.
Central American crocodile or Morel crocodile . This species was discovered only in 1850 by the French naturalist Morel, for which the crocodile received a middle name. Settled view Morele territory with freshwater bodies of Central America.
New Guinean crocodile . The representative is listed in the Red Book. Its habitat is located only in Indonesia. Prefers to populate fresh water and leads a nocturnal lifestyle.
Cuban crocodile . Settled on the islands of Cuba. A key feature of this species is its relatively long limbs, which allow it to pursue prey on land. It is considered a very aggressive and dangerous species.
Siamese crocodile . An extremely rare representative that can only be found in Cambodia. Its size does not exceed 3 meters.
African or blunt dwarf crocodile . A relatively small representative of crocodiles. The maximum body length is 1.5 meters. Settled African swamps and lakes.
General characteristics of the alligator squad
The second most common species. Includes 8 representatives. Includes the following types:
American (or Mississippian) alligator. It is considered a very large type of alligator squad. The average body length of males fluctuates around 4 meters. It features strong jaws. It lives on the south side of America.
Chinese alligator . A unique view of the territory of China. It reaches a maximum length of 2 meters in size. Extremely small representative. The population totals only 200 alligators.
Black cayman . In terms of size, it shares the first place with the American representative. The body length of this alligator can reach 6 meters. Popular in Latin America. Attacks on humans have been reported.
Crocodile (or spectacle) caiman. Medium in size representative. The body length reaches no more than 2.5 meters. The rest of the alligators are more popular, spreading from Belize and Guatemala to Peru and Mexico.
Wide-shouldered cayman. Pretty large view. In its size ranges from 3 to 3.5 meters. Settled the territory of Argentina.
Paraguayan (or Yakar) cayman. Extremely small representative. It occupies the southern area of Brazil and northern Argentina. Less common in Paraguay and on the southern side of Bolivia.
Dwarf (or smooth-faced) caiman Cuvier. The length of the body of this caiman does not exceed 1.6 meters, which is quite small in comparison with relatives. It is considered the smallest representative of the entire squad. The species lives in Brazil, Paraguay, Peru, Ecuador and Guyana. The French naturalist Cuvier first discovered this species in 1807.
Smooth-faced (or dwarf) Schneider caiman. This species is slightly larger than the caiman Cuvier. Its size can reach 2.3 meters. The distribution range extends from Venezuela to southern Brazil.
General characteristics of the gavialov detachment
Only two species belong to this representative - this is the Ganges gavial and the gavial crocodile . These species are considered large semi-aquatic reptiles similar to ordinary crocodiles. A distinctive feature is the very thin structure of the muzzle, with which they can cleverly cope with fishing.
The habitat of the gavial crocodile has spread to Indonesia, Vietnam and Malaysia.
The Ganges Gavial is sometimes found in Nepal, Myanmar and Bangladesh. In many territories, this species has completely disappeared. The Gavialov detachment spends most of the time in the water, where he can get his food with dexterity.
Most representatives prefer solitary hunting; rare species can cooperate to search for prey. Most adult crocodiles include big game in their diet. These include:
No other beast can compare with a crocodile with its sharp teeth and wide mouth. When the victim falls into the mouth of a crocodile, then he can no longer get out of it. As a rule, a crocodile swallows its prey whole, and sometimes tears it to pieces. Large crocodiles eat a huge amount of food per day, usually 23% of their own body weight.
Since ancient times, their constant product is fish . Due to its habitat, this type of snack is the fastest and most affordable.
Breeding season and offspring
Crocodiles are considered polygamous representatives of reptiles . The mating season is characterized by bloody fights between males for the attention of the selected female. When pairing, the female lays her eggs on the shallows. To hide them from prying eyes, he covers the eggs with earth and grass. Some females bury them deep in the ground. The number of eggs laid depends on the type of representatives. Their number can be either 10 or 100. During the incubation period, the female does not move away from her clutches, as she protects them from potential danger all the time. The timing of the appearance of crocodiles depends on climatic conditions, but, as a rule, it lasts no more than 3 months. Small crocodiles are born at the same time, and their body size barely reaches 28 centimeters. Trying to get out of the shell, newborns begin to squeak loudly to attract the attention of the mother. If the mother heard, she helps her offspring get their eggs out with her sharp teeth, with which she breaks the shell. After a successful hatching, the female relates her children to a reservoir.
Just a couple of days later, the mother breaks the connection with her offspring. Little crocodiles go out into the wild completely unarmed and helpless.
Not all species monitor their offspring. Most of the gavials after laying eggs leave their "nest" and completely leave offspring.
Since crocodiles are forced to grow up quite early, their mortality at an early age is quite high. Small crocodiles are forced to hide from wild predators, and at first they feed exclusively on insects. Already growing up, they can cope with the hunt for fish, and as adults they can hunt big game.
Literally all crocodiles are semi-aquatic reptiles . Most of the time is spent in rivers and ponds, and on the shore appear only in the early morning or evening.
The body temperature of a crocodile depends on its habitat. The plates of the skin of these representatives accumulate the heat of sunlight, on which the temperature of the whole body depends. As a rule, daily temperature fluctuations do not exceed 2 degrees.
Crocodiles can spend some time in hibernation. This period begins in a period of severe drought. At such moments, they dig a large hole at the bottom of a drying reservoir.
Interesting facts about crocodiles - video