12 Amazing Crocodile Facts

1909
African Dwarf Crocodile
African Dwarf Crocodile. Photo: Antos 777

Crocodiles are a rare reptile. They have been around longer than any other species or animal alive. They instill fear, they terrify people and have survived the last mass extinction event sixty five million years ago and yet they have a very slow, almost nonexistent pace of evolution.

Here are some amazing crocodile facts that would fascinate, startle and possibly dazzle you.

  •  The saltwater crocodile which is scientifically known as the Crocodylus porosus is the largest known crocodile species. It is found in India, Fiji and albeit Australia. The crocodile weighs a ton. It can be as long as 23 feet. The dwarf crocodile found in Africa is the smallest known crocodile species. The longest dwarf crocodile is about 6.5 feet.
  • One of the weirdest Crocodile facts is, that they actually shed tears. This strange bodily reaction happens when they feed. That is not due to any pain or any psychological reasons. It is purely due to a physical reaction of air being pushed through their sinuses which trigger their tear glands and thus they weep while eating. Since the tears are not that of remorse or guilt, they are called fake tears. Hence the expression ‘crocodile tears’!
  • This is definitely one of the mind-blowing crocodile facts on our list: Crocodiles don’t have skin on their back. It is made of bones which are known as osteoderms, and therefore – the back of the crocodiles are invulnerable to bullets, spears and arrows.
American Crocodile
Look at that back: American Crocodile. Photo by Tomas Castelazo. CC-BY-SA-2.5-2.0-1.0 License, via Wikimedia Commons. CLICK TO ENLARGE!
  • Crocodile skin, the one that is derived from the belly of the reptile, is extremely sought after and expensive. A wallet or purse made of crocodile skin can be priced at around $15,000.
  • Some crocodiles like the Caimans have a shiny tapetum layer in their eyes that make them glow in the dark and thus they become visible post sundown.
  • In many erstwhile civilizations, the crocodiles were regarded as gods. The ancient Egyptians venerated the reptile.
  •  Crocodiles mate during the monsoons or rainy seasons and this is the time of the year when they are at their most aggressive behavior.
  • The reason why entire stones, rocks and even human body parts are found in the stomach of the crocodiles is because they have teeth that can crush but not chew.
  • This is one of those Crocodile facts which leave people saying “Ahhhh, now I understand!”. Crocodiles cannot sweat normally through their skin because their back is made of bones. So how do they stay cool? They keep their mouths open to sweat and thus to cool down. That’s why you always see them opening their mouths so wide and open. It has no threatening intention whatsoever. They’re just cooling down…
  • Crocodiles, like birds, have four chambers in their hearts.
  • Despite the large sizes of the crocodiles, their eggs are very small and so are their offspring. This is the saddest Crocodile facts on our list: Unfortunately most crocodile babies (approx. 98-99%) are eaten in their first year by large fish, lizards or even by other crocodiles.
  • And to the brightest among our Crocodile facts: Among those Crocodiles who do survive the first year, some can live for eighty years and more.