Top 10 Facts about Nile Crocodiles

The Nile crocodile is one of the largest of all crocodilians and is a supremely adapted aquatic predator.

Crocodile has a streamlined body, a long powerful tail, webbed hind feet, and long, powerful jaws, which are ideal for grabbing hold of prey and keeping them there. They have eyes, ears and nostreakhabaar located on top of the head, which means they can lie low in the water, almost totally submerged meaning they can keep hidden from prey.

Nile crocodiles have a valve located at the back of the throat which lets them open their mouths allowing them to open the mouth to catch and hold prey underwater without water entering the throat.

Crocodile has sensory pits in the scales along the side of the jaw, which are used to detect movement and vibrations in the water. What makes this species a crocodile, is the enlarged fourth tooth in the lower jaw is clearly visible when the mouth is closed. Nile Crocodiles have a grey-olive colour, with a yellowish belly, whilst the juvenile is more greenish or dark olive-brown, with black cross-banding on the tail and body, which becomes fainter in adults.

Nile Crocodiles measure up to 6 m and weigh in at up to 1000 kg. Young Nile crocodiles feed on insects, small fish, amphibians and crustaceans, with adults eating more vertebrates, including fish, turtles, birds and mammals. Large Nile crocodiles eat prey as large as antelopes, buffalo, zebras and wildebeest.

They get their prey by dragging the prey into the water and spinning the body around to tear off chunks of flesh. During bad weather, they will be found in dens that they use to retreat in bad weather. Nike crocodiles are able to live quickly over land in short bursts and they have very quick reflexes.

They mate underwater during the dry season and the nest is usually found in sandy banks which they will burrow up to 50cm deep. The mother will lay up to 60 eggs and then stream over them for the entire 90 day incubation period. The sex of the hatchlings is dependent on the temperature that the eggs are incubated with females produced below 31 degrees celsius, and males at above 31 to 34 degrees celsius. The young make a peeping noise when they are about to hatch which gives a signal for the female to transport the eggs in her mouth to the water where they will remain once they are hatched in their group for several months. Female Nile crocodiles reach sexual maturity at a body size of around 2.6 metres, and males at 2.7 to 3.1 metres and it is achieved at around 12 to 15 years old.

Male Nile crocodiles are very territorial and will patrol and defend their territories which are usually are a length of shoreline that extends up to 50 metres out into the water.

They are found throughout sub-Saharan Africa and Madagascar a wide range of aquatic habitats, including large freshwater lakes, rivers, freshwater swamps, coastal estuaries and mangrove swamps.