Wednesday, December 16, 2009

HUNTING CROCODILES

A crocodile is any species belonging to the family Crocodylidae. The term can also be used more loosely to include all members of the order Crocodilia: i.e. the true crocodiles, the alligators and caimans (family Alligatoridae) and the gharials (family Gavialidae), or even the Crocodylomorpha which includes prehistoric crocodile relatives and ancestors.They are an ancient lineage, and are believed to have changed little since the time of the dinosaurs. They are believed to be 200 million years old whereas dinosaurs became extinct 65 million years ago; crocodiles survived great extinction eventss.
Crocodiles are among the more biologically complex reptiles despite their prehistoric look. Unlike other reptiles, they have a cerebral cortex; a four-chambered heart; and the functional equivalent of a diaphragm, by incorporating muscles used for aquatic locomotion into respirationCrocodiles have a palatal flap, a rigid tissue at the back of the mouth that blocks the entry of water. The palate has a special path from the nostril to the glottis that bypasses the mouth. The nostrils are closed during submergence.Their tongues are not free but held in place by a membrane which limits movement; as a result, crocodiles are unable to stick out their tongues.Crocodilian scales have pores that are believed to be sensory, analogous to the lateral line in fishes. They are particularly seen on their upper and lower jaws. Another possibility is that they are secretory, as they produce an oily substance that appears to flush mud off.Crocodiles are very fast over short distances, even out of water. Since crocodiles feed by grabbing and holding onto their prey, they have evolved sharp teeth for tearing and holding onto flesh, and powerful muscles that close the jaws and hold them shut. These jaws can bite down with immense force, by far the strongest bite of any animal. The crocodile's bite force is more than 5,000 pounds per square inchcompared to just 335 pounds per square inch (22.8 atm) for a rottweiler, 400 pounds per square inch (27 atm) for a large great white shark, or 800 pounds per square inch (54 atm) to 1,000 pounds per square inch (68 atm) for a hyena.

Biology and behavior :

Crocodiles are ambush hunters, waiting for fish or land animals to come close, then rushing out to attack. As cold-blooded predators, they have a very slow metabolism, and thus can survive long periods without food. Despite their appearance of being slow, crocodiles are top predators in their environment, and various species have been observed attacking and killing sharks.
A famous exception is the Egyptian Plover which is said to enjoy a symbiotic relationship with the crocodile. According to unauthenticated reports, the plover feeds on parasites that infest the crocodile's mouth and the reptile will open its jaws and allow the bird to enter to clean out the mouth.Crocodiles do not have sweat glands and release heat through their mouths. They often sleep with their mouths open and may even pant like a dog.

Age :

There is no reliable way of measuring crocodile age, although several techniques are used to derive a reasonable guess. The most common method is to measure lamellar growth rings in bones and teeth—each ring corresponds to a change in growth rate which typically occurs once a year between dry and wet seasons.
Bearing these inaccuracies in mind, the oldest crocodilians appear to be the largest species. C. porosus is estimated to live around 70 years on average, and there is limited evidence that some individuals may exceed 100 years. One of the oldest crocodiles recorded died in a zoo in Russia. A male freshwater crocodile at the Australia Zoo is estimated to be 130 years old. He was rescued from the wild by Bob Irwin and Steve Irwin after being shot twice by hunters. As a result of the shootings, this crocodile has lost his right eye.

Skin :

Crocodiles have and armoured skin on top and more smooth skin on the bottom. The smooth skin at the bottom is used to slide on the muddy surfaces of the river banks. The armoured part of the skin is used for protection. They are still able to get heat through this thick rugged armour. They have a network of small capillaries that flow through these scales to get heat to these places.

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