Adaptations

 

Like all animals, crocodiles have developed many adaptations to aid in their survival. They have developed successful ways of reproduction, feeding, locomotion, and others.

 

Because reptiles are cold-blooded, the crocodiles have to find ways to maintain their body temperatures. During cooler months, the crocs bask in the sun on the mud of tidal riverbanks. During the hotter months, they hang out mostly in the water and in the shade and only come out to hunt in the evening and night.

 

This is a sub-adult gaping to cool its hot head and also to threaten others.

 

There are several additional adaptations to those already discussed that you can find on the feeding page. Though the crocs normally swallow their food above water to avoid drowning, if they were to swallow them underwater, they have a fleshy "palatal" valve at the back of their throat to help prevent drowning. Sometimes they ingest stones or pebbles to aid them digest the food within their gizzard.

 

The crocs lay their eggs in elaborate nests. These mound nests are above the water and keep the eggs from flooding. But the eggs can also be in danger of drying out. For this reason, they lay eggs during the wet season. Female crocs have also been observed to splash water onto the nest if it is too dry. After the eggs hatch, the female takes care of her young for several months. This much parental care is very rare in reptiles, but helps increase the chances of survival for the young. Even with this help, only 1% of hatchlings reach maturity.

 

The crocs obviously have to have a high tolerance for salinity, but they can also be found in freshwater rivers and swamps too. Though the crocs don't truly migrate, they do move between different habitats during the dry and wet season. In addition to this movement, they also change habitats depending on how old they are. The crocs are born and raised in freshwater areas. As sub-adults, they are forced to more marginal and saline areas. The weaker crocs are even forced out of these areas to the open ocean, where they have to swim until they find a new area. This is why they have a wide distribution.

 

Check out the morphology page to learn about other adaptations. This includes the clear eyelid to aid in seeing underwater, flaps that cover the ears while underwater, nostrils located on the top of the head so they can swim almost completely submerged, and coloring that is similar to counter shading.

 

 

 

 

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