Prepare yourself for the most fascinating nile crocodile facts for kids including nile crocodile diet, habitat, reproduction, and its ferocious behavior. The Nile crocodile (Crocodylus niloticus) has got the most fearsome and deservedly man-eating reputation across Africa.
According to a rough estimate, around 200 people are put to death each year by these crocodiles. They often come into conflict with humans. They are listed as the African largest crocodiles that can grow to a size of about 20 feet (6 meters), with an average size measuring at 16 feet.
These wild reptiles inhabit all throughout the sub-Saharan Africa, the Nile Basin, in marshes, mangrove, and swamps. These crocodiles primarily feed on fish but are generally considered as opportunistic feeders and will take on zebras, deer, porcupines, birds, young hippos, and carrion.
The Nile crocodile features caring nature as a parent. Unlike the majority of other reptiles that moves on after laying eggs, nile crocodile viciously look after its eggs until they hatch.
These animals were excessively hunted during 1940s and 1960s and the hunting was so much so that the population was at the verge of extinction. Some other reasons for the population decline are habitat loss and pollution.
The nile crocodile is also called common crocodile. There are around 250,000 to 500,000 individuals left in the wild. The population is widely distributed all along the southern and eastern countries of Africa including Kenya, Zimbabwe, Zambia, Ethopia, and Somalia.
Nile Crocodile Facts For Kids
- Nile crocodiles exhibit a bright bronze color from the above together with black markings on the belly. Crocodile’s sides are yellowish-green in color.
- These reptilian species have green eyes.
- The crocodiles can afford to submerge their entire body except eyes, nostrils, and ears as these are located at the top of the head.
- The crocodile’s coloration can offer a natural camouflage.
- The juveniles are rather brownish in color.
- These reptiles typically crawl with their bellies but they are certainly capable to make short bursts of about 12 – 14 km/h (7.5 – 8.7 mph).
- These crocodiles are known to swim much rapidly and they can retain this much movement for about 30 – 35 km/h (19 – 22 mph).
- The crocodiles can be submerged in water for about 30 minutes or so. They will hold their breath for two hours if remain inactive.
- These animals typically dive for only few hours. They spend most of their time underwater and will only come on land to prey on animals.
- They have a strong bite force of about 5,000 lbf (22 kN). The muscles of mouth are relatively weak as humans can easily take hold of these animals by grasping its mouth.
- There are around 64 – 68 cone-shaped teeth in the nile crocodile’s mouth.
- When on land, these crocodiles are often come into conflict with other potential predators like lions, leopards, and felines.
- The Nile crocodile is sometimes regarded as the second largest crocodilian comes after the saltwater crocodiles.
- The male crocodile measures around 3.5 – 5 meters (11 – 16 feet), with some species can grow to a size of 5.5 meters (18 feet).
- The females are 30% smaller as compare to males.
- The length of the adult crocodiles is about 2.4 – 4 meters (7 feet 10 inches to 13 feet 1 inch).
- The weight of these animals is around 225 – 500 kg (500 – 1,100 lb), with large males measuring at 750 kg (1,700 lb).
- The largest nile crocodile ever recorded was 6.45 meters (21.2 feet), with the weight measuring at 1,090 kg (2400 pounds).
- The largest nile crocodilian specimen was named Gustave in Burundi and was thought to be measuring at 6.1 meters (20 feet). This reptile was known to be man-eater but are too rare to exist today.
- There are also smaller crocodiles that measure only 2 – 3 meters (6 ft 7 in to 9 ft 10 in).
Dig Deeper: Crocodile Facts For Kids
- These animals are regarded as sit-and-wait predators as most of their attacks tend to surprise their prey.
- The nile crocodiles prey on large-sized as well as medium-sized mammals. They are often seen to attack hippos but young hippos can become its prey.
- The nile crocodile hunts mostly at night while lying in ambush adjacent to forest trails or roadsides, up to 50 meters (170 feet) from the water’s edge.
- The young crocs prey on smaller prey including small aquatic invertebrates and insects but later they feed hunt fish, reptiles, and amphibians. The subadult crocodiles take on birds and medium-sized mammals.
- These wild animals prey on mammals such as lechwe, gazelles, giraffes, zebras, warthogs, wildebeest, sitatunga, antelope, Cape buffalos, waterbuck, sheep, goats, cattle, and young elephants.
Dig Deeper: What Do Crocodiles Eat?
Distribution and Habitat
- Nile crocodiles are the inhabitants of Nile Delta, Zarqa River (Jordan), and Lake Moeris. The nile crocodile population has severely been depleted in the 19th century in Seychelles.
- At present, a good many number of these animals are known to reside in Lake Chad, Wadai, Cunene, Madagascar, Senegal River, Okavango Delta, and southern and western parts of the Port Dauphin. Although rarely, nile crocodiles are also observed in Comoros and Zanzibar. Across East Africa, Nile crocodiles inhabit in marshes, dams, lakes, and rivers.
Dig Deeper: Where Do Crocodiles Live?
- The male crocodiles reach the maturity age after when they are 3 meters (9.8 feet) long; while females become mature at 2 – 2.5 meters (6 ft 7in to 8 ft 2 in). The maturity age of these animals is 10 years.
- After two months of mating, females will lay eggs.
- The nesting season ranges from November to December.
- The female digs a 500 meters (20 inches) deep hole and lays 25 – 80 eggs.
- The length of hatchlings measure around 300 mm (12 inches) at birth and they will grow to a size of 1.2 meters (4 feet) after two years.
- The average lifespan of nile crocodiles is about 70 – 100 years.