Saturday, April 10

Creature Feature! - A Crash Course of The Wild. (Croc VS Gator)

Since this is the first post for Creature Feature, I'll do a Double post!
Let me start it off with the longest, nearly unchanged perfected badass breed of hunting machine ever since 200 million years ago!

The Crocodilians ! [P.s Steve Irwin excluded (aka Crocodile hunter)]

I bet many of you out there have been to different Zoos all around the world. There are times where I bet you hear someone telling another “Hey! look at the size that Croc!” (A sudden strong urge to cough out the word “Alligator” seemed inevitable).


Anyway, below is a test to how well you can tell the difference between a crocodile from an alligator.








-------------------------------------- The End --------------------------------------

“Hope you mates are spot on!"
Opps! Sorry, I am not revealing the answers just yet!
Come on! Some facts wouldn't hurt a bit, aite!”

As we all know, these Crocodiles and Alligators are Reptiles. Thus, they are covered with scaly skins (tough on top, soft below), they are sometimes so tough that they have been rumored to deflect Arrows and maybe even Bullets. It's toughness is due to a substance called osteoderm ("skin bone"), which are infused with blood vessels to serve as solar panels to absorb and transfer the heat from the surface to the whole body during basking. Basking is usually for reptiles as they are considered Ecotherms (aka Cold blooded), which means they cannot produce their own body heat. Thus heavily relying in its environment. (Eg. The Sun)

They are most active when temperatures are between (28° to 35° C). They stop feeding when the ambient temperature drops below approximately (21° C) and will become dormant below (13° C). Alligators are dormant throughout much of the winter season. During this time, they can be found in burrows (or "dens") that they construct adjacent to an alligator hole or open water, but they occasionally emerge to bask in the sun during spells of warm weather or when the Sun is just to unbearable, you'll find them partially submerged in water.

Apart from basking in the Sun, these ancient reptiles are often found in bodies of water. They can submerge and remain underwater from 30mins to a couple of hours. Well, that depends on the need. Being partially submerged in water often make them look like a rotting log just floating down the river. But in actual fact they might be looking for some thirsty and unsuspecting prey (People are also on the list, due to our slow reflexes .

Croc or Log?

----------Below the continued interview with the Great Steve Irwin------------

Q: How fast do they move?

"As a rule, the body comes out of the water so hard and fast that it is impossible to avoid. So if you've got a 12 foot croc,then six feet of it will be coming out of the water. An example of how quick it was, I had a bloke standing beside me when a croc decided to strike. It hit the fence next to the man, crawled back into the water and only then did he drop his can of coke. That gives you an idea of reaction time: you can't react quick enough. If more than half of their body is out of the water, you might have enough time to get out of the way. (Edited due to typo errors)


During the time when they are basking in the sun, there is this uncanny partnership in motion, an Egyptian Plover is seen hopping in and out of the Nile Croc's mouth while it's wide open. It is exactly the same as what you would experience during a visit to the local dentist (Picture the dentist going in and out of your mouth trying to yank dirt from your tooth). The plover has this symbiotic relationship with crocodiles, it feeds on bits of decaying meat that are lodged between the crocodiles' teeth. Not only that, it also rids parasites that infest the crocodile's mouth and body. Talk about a win-win scenario!

Plover in action.

Undying Love.

When the Females are ready to lay their eggs, they will either do in a hole they dug in the sand or nests made of mud and vegetation. In it may lie a cluster of 10-50 eggs depending on the breed. Be WARNED, these mothers are very aggressive when taking care of their eggs. And I do mean “With Their LIVES” kind of aggressive!
During this time of incubation, the sex of the young is greatly dependant on the temperature rather than genes but by the average temperature during their incubation period. If the temperature inside the nest is below 31.7 °C, or above 34.5 °C, the offspring will be female. Males can only be born if the temperature is within that narrow 5°C margine. Each hatchling is about 70 grams and about 25-30 centimetres long.

New Born

Born 2 Swim

Sizes - S, M, L

How big can these reptiles grow? Well that I cannot be sure, as we (Humans) have not yet explored the many hidden corners of the wild. So far, the smallest is the Dwarf crocodile growing to adult length of about 1.5 meters (5 feet), though the maximum recorded length for this species is 1.9 meters (6.2 feet). The largest species award goes to the adult male saltwater crocodile weighing in at about 600 to 1,000 kilograms and with length normally reaching 4 to 5.5 metres , though mature males can be 6 metres (20 ft) or more and easily weigh 1,300 kilograms or larger.

Above : Dwarf Crocodile

Above : Saltwater Crocodile

----------Below the continued interview with the Great Steve Irwin------------

Q: Are they very intelligent?

"There's a whole lot of hoo-hah floating around that the crocodile has a small brain and that he's not very intelligent. Some people think they're very dumb. But when you get a perspective on their environment and understand that crocodiles have been on the planet for 65 million years, it's their instincts that I would consider to be their intelligence. In fact they are very intelligent; they have a great eye for detail in their environment and are certainly very aware of things in that environment.
Crocodiles of less than ten feet are less likely to strike because they are so instinctively clever. They see me as a largish mammal that couldn't be had easily. I prefer the word 'strike' to 'attack', since they are reptiles and that's what reptiles do. They line prey up from underneath the water;they've already had plenty of time to determine how big you are. They are camouflage-attack predators: they are so still,still as rock, so you don't even know they're there. I'll take a few more chances with the ten-foot-and-under ones and than those 12 feet and larger.
I'll talk about the bigger ones now, those 12 feet and above. The females rarely grow larger than 10 feet. I have one now at 10 feet 8 inches, and that's the biggest female I've ever seen. So its the big males that are the problem. This is nature's way: big males are very territorial, both amongst each other and territorial towards us when we are in their environment. Their job is to ensure the success of their species. When they fight they often fight to the death. They dominate each other and do all kinds of displays and mating rituals. These males are number one in their eco-system, in their environment, so the buck stops with them. Their territorial and aggressive nature keeps the river system clean, really clean. When I'm entering their environment or in the enclosure with the big males, I am very careful and very cautious."

"Ain't she a Beauty?"

Q: What are some of their adaptations that make it possible for them to be so successful as predators?

"Their sense of smell is very acute, and their hearing is quite good, so if there is a mammal hanging about by the water's edge, they will submerge, they will smell them and, with out a ripple in the water, they will cruise over. Whether they are using their webbed feet to plod along to the bottom or the sideways motion of the tail, their movement is completely invisible, so that's why they are called camouflage or ambush attack predators.

By the time you see this,

It's Too LATE

They have three eyelids: two leathery protective eyelids and one clear or translucent one. They'll use that transparent eyelid like a pair of goggles to distinguish sun and shadow;and if it's clear water they may be able to pick up a little bit of movement. When they are in hunt mode or attack mode,their senses are very keen. They can sense when a mammal is moving around on the shore creating vibrations. With great accuracy, they can pinpoint exactly where the footsteps are headed. They know exactly when you have entered the water, and at that precise moment, they strike."

That is Steve and his wife Terri.

Q: What do you look out for when you are working around crocodiles?

"I've got a 16 foot croc who weighs over a ton. What we watch for is when he gets his feet poised a certain way; and we watch his eyes. Wherever the slit in his eyes is pointed,that's where he's looking. They have very good vision, and they can see almost 180 degrees. They can't see anything below their nose, but anything above the water is in their sight range. In the water, we look for any disturbances or small bubbles that might clue us in to movement. In shallow,clear water they are easier to detect, but people have had some close calls in clear, shallow water at night. Night time is their time."

The Legend in Action.


*Drum roll!*
And the Answers are!


Alright! No worries if you got them wrong. Now is when you get your explanation to the pictures above. So how do you tell them apart? Here is the general method below!

Method 1:



Difference: Spot the lower jaw tooth
As you can see the subject in pic-4 has exposed lower jaw teeth,
as compared to pic-1's subject which has no lower jaw tooth shown.
This is because the Crocodile's upper and lower jaw are nearly of the same width thus, causing the interlocking effect of the teeth. Whereas the Alligator's upper jaw is slightly wider than the lower jaw, thus hiding the lower teeth and only exposing the upper ones.

Method 2:



Difference: U-shaped snout VS V-shaped snout
Next, this part is tad tricky. Lets take a look at Pic-3's snout. Crocodile's snout are more towards the V-shaped as compared to the Alligator's U-shaped snout seen in Pic-5. But this is a general rule to be used as it has been proven wrong as there is a species of Crocodile named mugger crocodile (Crocodylus palustris). This particular breed of Crocodile has more of a U-shaped snout compared to the usual V-shaped snout.

Method 3:



Difference: Olive Brown Vs Blackish
Another physical difference is that crocodiles have a lighter olive brown coloration as seen in Pic-2, while alligators seen in Pic-6 appear blackish. Looking at the coloration on the underside maybe more precise as some Crocodiles may appear slightly darker on the topside.


Some Interesting/Fun Facts.

Crocodile tactic 101..

Step 1: Get as close as you can. Take your Lucky pick.

Step 2: Wait for your prey to come forward,

Step 3: If you miss, get any unfortunate meal who falls into the water!

Step 4: End your victim's misery. (usually drowning)
[Censored : Best not shown]

Step 5: How to do you eat something bigger than your mouth can open?
Crocodile Deathroll
( Figure it as Street fighter's Akuma “Shun Goku Satsu “ aka “天 " as some of us call it.)
Anyway.. its Dinner time!

They use this method to dismember the prey into smaller chunks for swallowing as crocodiles are unable to chew their food. Thus swallowing is the only option.

If you think you are safe being above the Crocodile..

Think Twice. They can LEAP out of water!

Crocodiles do appear in the sea!

A tribute to Stephen Robert Irwin
(22 February 1962 – 4 September 2006),

known simply as Steve Irwin.

Stop buying Wildlife products.

There is a sufficiency in the world for man's need but not for man's greed.
~Mohandas K. Gandhi

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