Beware of Crocodiles

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The amazing wildlife at the Zambezi River does not only include hippos, zebras and elephants but also crocs. Crocodiles are related to alligators, growing up to 15 feet in length. They live in the rivers, lakes and dams throughout Africa, and look much as they did millions of years ago during the age of the dinosaurs. The fact that they have survived unchanged for all that time is testament to their success as a species and predators of note.

Crocodiles do have a soft side to them, though. Female crocodiles lay their eggs in sand, close to the water’s edge. Both parents will stay nearby until the eggs have hatched. Sometimes the baby crocodiles cannot break their way out of their thick shell so they will call out from inside. The female crocodile will come to the aid of her brood and dig them up, taking them to the water’s edge; the male may even roll an egg around in his mouth to help crack the shell.

As soon as all the baby crocodiles are out of their shells the parents take them into shallow waters where they can find small fish, crustaceans, or water insects on which they feed. The parents will care for their offspring for several months, after which time they are left to look after themselves. As baby crocodiles, of course, they have many predators – from large fish, to birds and to other crocodiles.

If they are lucky they can grow up into nice big crocs like their parents. They will swim just below the surface of the water, probably with their nose and eyes just poking above the surface looking for a tasty morsel to snatch. They can move extremely fast to grab their prey after which they haul it down under the water to drown it.

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