Crocodiles are large, fierce reptiles that live in rivers, salt marshes, and swamps in warm parts of the world. They have long , scaly bodies and strong jaws full of sharp teeth. They catch fish, frogs, birds, pigs, antelopes, and even other crocodiles to eat. They use their powerful tails to push themselves through the water when they swim. On land, crocodiles can move quickly on their short legs.
Baby crocodiles hatch from eggs, like baby birds. A mothe crocodile lays about 30 eggs in anest. She covers the eggs with sand or rotting plants to keep them warm, and watches over them. She guards her young until they are old enough to look after themselves.
A young crocodile lies in wait for its next meal. Only its eyes and nostrils show above the water.
In the morning, crocodiles lie in the sun to warm up. During the hottest part of the day they swim or lie in the mud to keep cool. They hunt in the evening, waiting near a shore or riverbank to catch the animals that come to drink.
The crocodile family
The crocodile family includes alligators, caimans (KAY-mans), and gavials (GAY-vee-uhls). They can usually be recognized by the shape of their jaws, or snouts. An alligator has a broader, more rounded snout than a crocodile. Caimans have very similar snouts to alligators and gavials have long, thin snouts that are good for catching fish.
DID YOU KNOW?
>Crocodiles sometimes eat stones to help them digest their food. The stones also help them float the right way up.
>The salt-water crocodile, the largest in the world, can grow as long as a luxury automobile and weigh as much as five people.
>Crocodiles keep on growing throughout their lives.