African Crocodile

The African crocodiles are a semiaquatic group of reptile species native to many parts of Africa. Various species are found in areas ranging from the very south of the continent, right up to the north of Africa in the Nile region of Egypt. Unmistakable in appearance, crocodiles are close living relatives of the dinosaurs, and they have the looks that carry that association. Amongst African animals, the crocodile is one of the most dangerous, but at the same time one of the most interesting.
african crocodile
A crocodile is easy to identify. Long in body, with staunch legs, crocodiles could be described as giant lizards with a heavier skin. Depending on the species, African crocodiles can range in size. Most of these animals average at about 4.3m in length, whereas the Nile crocodile can grow up to 6m in length. Crocodiles have a long and pointed snout, which easily distinguishes them from the closely related alligator, which has a rounded snout. Crocodiles also have webbed feet which work to assist in maneuvering in the water, as well as making walking easy in shallows with mud or sand floors.

Crocodiles are carnivores and depending on their environment will feed on a range of other species. African crocodiles live mostly off of mammals and fish. River crocodiles will prey on other African animals that come to drink from the waters, and it’s not uncommon to see a crocodile attack smaller wildebeest or even livestock. Crocodiles will also eat amphibians, crustaceans, and even mollusks. Crocodiles hunt by ambushing their prey, waiting in seclusion before making a rush attack. No matter what environment they’re in, crocodiles are always amongst the top predators.

Reptiles are the least social of all the African animals, but crocodiles are actually the most social reptile in existence. Although they don’t live in groups, they will tolerate other crocodiles around feeding grounds. When it comes to breeding, crocodiles always mate in the water. Courtship is an intriguing process where a female will put on a long drawn out display of submission for her desired mate. Crocodiles lay eggs and can lay up to 95 eggs after fertilization, but this number varies by species and is sometimes as low as 7 eggs. Highly interesting, crocodile sex is not genetically determined, but depends on the temperature of the nest where the eggs are incubated.

crocodile hitching ride

Crocodiles are extremely fierce predators and pose a danger when they come in to close contact with humans. Hundreds of people are killed in Africa by these animals every year. This has in part led to a threat to crocodiles through hunting and culling. Crocodiles also produce valuable leather products and they are farmed for their skin in some countries.

Currently, the Nile crocodile, Africa’s most widespread and well known crocodile is in no current danger of extinction, and is classified by environmental authorities under ‘least concern’.