Costa Rica Wildlife – 11 Facts I Bet You Didn’t Know About the Crocodile!
Find out the best places for wildlife viewings in Costa Rica.
1. Crocodiles are considered to be one of the most perfect creatures in the world. Besides being by far the most biologically complex reptile, they have the strongest immunity system of all creatures.
2. Crocodiles are just 250 to 300 mm when they hatch. Although, over their lifespan they can become massive averaging lengths of 2.5 to 3 m and weighing 100 to 270 kg.
3. They have perfect bodies for swimming which they do swiftly and quickly. They tuck their feet to their sides enabling them to move even faster by decreasing water resistance. Their webbed feet help them turn and make sudden moves in the water as well, along with walking in the shallower ends.
4. The croc’s speed amazes many people. They are extremely fast over short distances in and out of water.
5. Through years of evolution, the crocodiles have developed extremely sharp teeth for grabbing and holding onto their prey, and tearing and holding onto flesh. They are also known to have the strongest bite of any animal – 5,000 pounds per square inch (400 pounds per square inch for a large great white shark, or 800 pounds per square inch to 1,000 pounds per square inch for a hyena).
6. The crocodile is a silent predator, waiting for fish or land animals to come close, and then they rush out to attack.
7. Part of their perfection is that a crocodile can survive for long periods without food, and rarely needs to actively go hunting. Despite this fact, crocodiles are top predators in their environment.
8. Crocodiles can live in practically any ecosystem: salt marshes, freshwater marshes, mangroves, swamp forests, river mouths, and sometimes in the open ocean. The bodies of water in which they live are usually in lowland dry, moist, or wet forests.
9. American Crocodiles are extremely vocal, especially during the breeding season when it makes low grunts or loud roars. Adults copulate in water.
10 The female lays and covers 20 to 60 eggs in a nest dug out of the ground. She guards the nest for up to 3 months.
11. The sex of a crocodile is affected by egg temperature during incubation, which is referred to as temperature-dependent sex determination. When the hatchlings emerge, they scream for her. She carefully helps them exit and carries each baby in her mouth to the water. She will stay with them temporarily to protect them from predators, namely small mammals and birds, which may also eat crocodile eggs.