Posted on July 29, 2012 with 89 notes.
Tagged with behaviour, crocodilian, info, reptile, .

Crocodilians (including crocodiles, alligators, caimen and gharials) … many people would imagine them to be cold-blood killers. The expectation falls far short of the reality. For one thing, they are not “cold blooded” (which is a misleading phrase, the scientific term is ectothermic) but simply rely on external heat instead of producing enough of their own body heat.

As for the part where people think crocodilians are killers … they are ambush predators that generally eat other vertebrates, and occasionally have attacked people. The Saltwater Crocodile is the largest and considered the most dangerous of the crocodilans. But crocodilians are also an important part of their native ecosystems, with the Saltie in particular function as the apex (top) predator in the Australian ecosystem (where the reptile is usually king!). And if people respected crocodiles and did not enter their territory, there would be a small likelihood of being attacked by a crocodile - they don’t go out looking for people to attack!

They are also social animals, living in family units very similar to our own - a crocodile family unit would include a big, dominant, adult male “Dad”, one to several adult female “Mums” and their offspring. Usually when the offspring are young they are protected, guarded and nurtured, until they mature to teenagers and are pushed out into the world to find their own territory. Sounds similar to our own families doesn’t it? The dominant male will also protect his girls and chase away any less dominant males.

Crocodilians deserve our protection not our hatred.

Photo from here, showing American Alligators.

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    Aw, look at that little baby! (I like the pictures of the moms carrying the babies around in their mouths, too… Baby...
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