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Nile crocodile

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Nile crocodile
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Scientific Classification
Binomial

Crocodylus niloticus

The Nile Crocodile is best known for its large size and its history with Egypt. The Nile crocodiles are the second largest type of crocodile in the world and can grow to be from 6.5 up to 23 feet (6 meters) in length and 1,500 pounds in weight. There are many different types of crocodiles that can be found all over the world, each with their own special design from God. In comparison, the largest crocodile in America grows up to 20 feet.

Anatomy

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The Nile Crocodile does differ from the other species of Crocodiles. The Nile Crocodile tends to have a larger body that can reach up to 6 meters in length, and 1,500 pounds in weight. In some countries however it has been recorded that the Nile Crocodiles can only grow up to an average of 4 meters long. In many countries there are dwarf Nile Crocodiles living in the Mali and Sahara Deserts. Juveniles are a dark olive brown with a black cross-banding on the tail and body. The band will become fainter as it becomes an adult. Males are often 30 percent larger than the females.

Crocodiles are often mistaken for alligators, but there are 2 main differences that can readily help in telling them apart. The crocodiles have a longer, narrower snout, with their teeth sticking out of their mouths. The second way to tell them apart is by how they swim. Crocodiles use their tails to swim. Although they may have webbed feet, they do not use them in the water. On land they have been recorded to run up to thirty miles per hour for a short distance[1].

Reproduction

crocodile eggs

During the mating season, the males attract females by making a loud bellowing sound while slapping their snouts on the water, which in turn makes water come out of their noses to create many different sounds. If there is a fight between two males over one female the larger male will most likely win. Once they have found a mate, they start to rub the underside of their jaws together. After this process is complete the female will then lay her eggs two months later. In the meantime the female goes out to find a suitable nest for her new offspring. This nest usually includes a fifty centimeter hole in the ground of a sandy bank, well a ways from the harm the water may bring. They lay an average of 40 to 60 eggs depending on the location of the nest. The eggs can take up any time between 70 to 100 days to hatch. The mating season varies with each location. In the North it starts during the dry seasons. Everywhere else it takes places during the rainy seasons of November through December. Both sexes are not ready to mate until they reach a certain size. For the females the approximate length is 2.6 meters, while the males is 3.1 meters.[2]

Ecology

Feeding time.

There are many different types of crocodiles along with the Nile crocodile. There are 23 common ones known and some include:

  • Philippine Crocodile- This crocodiles is the only crocodile known to live on the hills and mountains. It hunts by hiding in the water and pretending it is a log. When the predator least expects it, it will leap up and catch it.
  • Cuban Crocodile-This crocodiles lives in swamps and eats off of frogs, toads, and fish. It can be from 10-15 feet long.
  • Johnstons Crocodile- This is known to be the fastest crocodile known to Australia. They can gallop as fast as ten miles per hour. They have a long narrow snout that allows them to catch fish and other prey easily.
  • Salt water Crocodile- This is the most feared crocodile of them all. It can grow up to 23 feet long and it has been known to both attract and eat humans.
  • Morelets Crocodile- This crocodile has a flat head and a short fat snout. It lays up to 45 eggs during mating season and has a huge appetite.[3]

The Worship of Crocodiles

Sobek (from Kom Ombo Temple)

The people of ancient Egypt used to worship a god called Sobek. This god had the ability of protection, fertility, and to receive all the power that pharaoh had. He was known as a mummified crocodile with the body of a man. The main worship temple for him was in the Middle Kingdom in Arsinoe in the Faiyum Oasis, otherwise called the "crocodopolis" named by the Greeks. Another major temple is in the city of Kom-Ombo, and many other temples that are scattered around the world. Crocodiles in ancient Egypt were kept as a pampered pet. For each temple a crocodile was placed in a pool for the people to worship. There the crocodile was fed, worshiped, and covered in jewelry. Today many crocodile skeletons have been found in ancient temples. They have been mummified and placed in a "sacred tomb" where no harm can come to it. Even the eggs that had not hatched were found in temples. [4]

Gallery

Related References