Nile Crocodile


Biological classification

Class: Reptilia

Order: Crocodylia

Family: Alligatoridae

Appearance

One of the largest species of crocodiles in the world. The average length of animals is from 2 to 5.5 m. The weight of females is 120-200 kg, males are up to 600 kg.

The body shape of Nile crocodiles is lengthened, somewhat flattened. Lambs are short. There are six dozen of teeth on the long and strong jaws. The eyes, ears, and nostrils are located high on the head, so that the reptilian can stay in the water for a long time, exposing only its massive muzzle to the outside. The body is covered with dense leathery scales, the upper part of the body is pale brown, gray or greenish, and on the lower part of the body is of yellowish color. There are dark stripes on the back and tail. Young animals are darker than older ones.

Distribution and mode of life

The species is common throughout the whole Africa (from Egypt and further to sub-Africa), except for its northern and desert areas of the Sahara. Nile crocodiles inhabit banks of rivers and lakes, leading a semi-aquatic mode of life. During the nighttime animals often rest in shallow waters, the peak activity falls on the light period of the day. They swim perfectly, and on land crawl, walk and even run.

Diet

Diet of Nile crocodile depends on their age and size. Newborn crocodiles feed on insects, small fish, crustaceans and amphibians. As they grow, the number of larger hunting objects, such as birds, turtles, large fish, mammals, increases is increasing in crocodile diet.

Crocodile jaws are not suitable for chewing, so they either swallow the prey, or tear off pieces from it.

Breeding

Nile crocodiles reach sexual maturity at the age of 9-10 years. During the breeding period (terms depend on habitat region) males arrange ritual fights among themselves. Nile crocodiles usually mate in shallow water.

After mating the female prepares a nest in the form of a pit in the coastal sand up to 50 cm deep, where it lays from 30 to 70 eggs of white color. The incubation period lasts 90-100 days, during this period the female does not go too far from the nest and carefully protects it. At the end of the incubation period, the female helps youth to reach the shallow water. The female will take care of small crocodiles till they become two years old.

Environmental protection status

The species is on the Red List of the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (LC least concern), listed on the CITES (Annex I).

Exhibited in the Ecological Module at the Island of Animals in Kyiv Zoo

Nile  Crocodile