The Hulking Crocodilians

Thursday, August 20, 2009

The crocodilians – the heavily armored crocodiles, alligators and gavials – are the largest of the modern reptiles and the last surviving reptilian descendants of the stock that also produced the dinosaurs. Although somewhat clumsy out of water, they are superbly equipped for living in it. They are strong swimmers, and experts at drifting along on the surface, submerged except for their bulging eyes and nostrils, their long flat jaws not even making a ripple in the water as they stalk turtles, swimming birds and fishes. The larger crocodiles can sometimes get close enough to animals on shore to sweep them – and humans – into deep water with their tails. Crocodilians have valves in their mouths lack lips and thus do not shut completely; two palatal flaps cover gullet and windpipe during dives.


Post a Comment