Crocodiles, alligators, caimans and gharials are large reptiles that together form the group known as crocodilians. There are 14 species of crocodile, 7 alligators and caimans, and 1 gharial.
Crocodilian species lived alongside the dinosaurs 200 million years ago, and they are the nearest we have to living dinosaurs today.
Crocodilians are hunters that lie in wait for animals coming to drink at the water’s edge. When crocodilians seize a victim they drag it into the water, stun it with a blow from their tail, then drown it.
Like all reptiles, crocodilians get their energy from the sun. Typically, they bask in the sun on a sandbar or the river bank in the morning, then slip into the river at midday to cool off.
Crocodiles are huge reptiles with powerful bodies, scaly skin and great snapping jaws. The skin on its hack has ridges fOrmed by dozens of tiny bones called usteoderms A crocodile will often kill its victims
Crocodiles live in tropical rivers and with a swipe from its strong tail swamps. At over 5 m long, saltwater crocodiles are the world’s largest reptiles — one grew to over 8 m long.
Crocodiles are often said to cry after eating their victims. In fact only saltwater crocodiles cry, and they do it to get rid of salt.
Crocodiles have thinner snouts than alligators, and a fourth tooth on the lower jaw, visible when the crocodile’s mouth is shut.
The female Nile crocodile lays her eggs in nests which she digs in sandy river banks, afterwards covering the eggs in sand to keep them at a steady temperature. When the babies hatch they make loud piping calls. The mother then digs them out and carries them one by one in her mouth to the river.
Alligators are found both in the Florida Everglades in the United States and in the Yangtze River in China. The crocodile’s eyes and nostrils are raised so it can see and breathe while floating under water
Crocodilians often swallow stones to help them stay underwater for long periods.