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Quick Facts

Genus: Crocodylus

The Scoop

The Scoop

A fearsome predator in fresh and salt water

Crocodiles are large reptiles that live in the water in warm climates all over the world. They like warm weather so much, they are actually quite sensitive to cold. They are unrelated to alligators and the gharial, and each reptile is part of its own biological family.

Crocodiles are carnivores (meat eaters) and eat fish, birds, mammals and other reptiles. Some even eat things like mollusks. Their sight, hearing and smell is very good, which makes them great hunters both in the water and on land.

Of course, crocodiles are known for their large, powerful jaws. The upper and lower jaws of a crocodile are actually the same width, and the teeth fit together much like gears in a machine. Because their teeth are so sharp, it’s probably good that crocodiles actually can’t stick out their tongues. In fact, they have very little movement with their tongues, as they’re attached by a thin membrane to their lower jaw.

Crocs are amazing, smooth swimmers. Their bodies are very streamlined, and they have webbed feet that allow them to either float quietly or swim swiftly and smoothly toward prey. In fact, with the help of their powerful tail, they can swim at speeds of up to 25 mph.

Crocodiles are known for their scaly skin, but the skin of their bellies is very smooth and soft. They can be a wide range of sizes, from just under five feet to over 23 feet and weighing in at 2,200 pounds.

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