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Temporal range: Eocene – Recent
Nile Crocodile
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
(unranked): Archosauria
Class: Sauropsida
Order: Crocodilia
Family: Crocodylidae
Cuvier, 1807

A crocodile is a large amphibious reptile. It lives mostly in large tropical rivers, where it is an ambush predator. One species, the Australian saltie, also travels in coastal salt water. In very dry climates, crocodiles may aestivate and sleep out the dry season.[1]

The modern type of crocodile appeared first in the Eocene period, but its ancestors go much further back, to the Upper Triassic. The name "Crocodile" is also used for any member of the order Crocodilia. They are basically Archosaurs, a group which also includes the dinosaurs.

The crocodile can snap its jaw shut very fast and has much power closing its jaw but crocodiles have very little strength opening their jaws and any regular man can most likely hold it shut with their bare hands.

Crocodiles range in size from African Dwarf crocodiles that measure rarely over 5 feet to saltwater crocodiles which can approach 23 feet.

Distribution of crocodiles

Where they live

Crocodiles live in rivers, lakes and dams in parts of America, Asia, Africa and Australia. Some of the crocodiles from Australia live in salt water. These saltwater crocodiles are normally bigger than the ones that live in fresh water. While crocodiles spend most of their time in water, they can come out and move around on the land. Crocodiles cannot breathe underwater: they breathe air, just like people. They can hold their breath for a maximum of about two hours underwater.[2]

What they look like

Their colors range from brown to grey and have different patterns covering them. They have many shapes and they differ in color. They have sharp claws and teeth. They can also be a greenish-brownish color.

Alligators and crocodiles

Although there is not much difference in their life-style, biologists put alligators in a separate family. Gharials are also in a separate family, and Caimans are a sub-family of alligators.

The difference between an alligator and a crocodile is that one can not see the fourth tooth in the lower jaw of an alligator when the alligator's mouth is closed. One can see the fourth tooth in the lower jaw of a crocodile when its mouth is closed. Sometimes it is said that alligators have as wide a snout as crocodiles have a narrow snout, but there are also some crocodiles with wide snouts.


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