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Animals

Top 10 Fascinating and Unique Crocodilians

TyB . . . Comments

There are 23 species of crocodilians in the world. Usually, we think of these reptiles as being all the same; big head, short legs, many teeth and an eternal appetite for whatever unfortunate creature falls into their reach (humans included). Although it is true that modern day crocodilians share a very similar basic design, each species is really unique, and has its own interesting traits. This list features the least “mainstream” crocodilians, often overshadowed by their more famous relatives, including the Nile crocodile, the Saltwater crocodile and the American alligator.

10

Cuban crocodile

Cuban Crocodile

Found only in certain swamps of Cuba and Isla de la Juventud, this crocodile is highly endangered nowadays. At three meters (9.84′) long, it is not particularly large for a crocodile, and it doesn’t have a very unusual appearance either, but don’t let this fool you; it is actually one of the most unique crocodilians, and according to zookeepers who have worked with them, they are also the most aggressive of them all. Due to the rarity of the species, and their extremely limited range, attacks of Cuban crocodiles on humans are uncommon and seldom reported; even so, they are very dangerous, not only because of the usual reasons (bone crushing jaws, puncturing teeth and immense strength), but also because of their unusual agility and intelligence. Keepers have reported that Cuban crocodiles can work as a team to surround and subdue large prey (humans included!), the same way “raptor” dinosaurs are supposed to have done in prehistoric times. Although Nile crocodiles have also been reported to hunt in coordinated groups, they don’t seem to do this as often, or as skillfully, as Cuban crocodiles do. This is a very active species that spends a lot of time on land, although they are still considered to be semiaquatic animals rather than terrestrial.

9

African dwarf crocodile

Medium-2

Found in the tropical rivers and swamps of western and central Africa, this is the smallest true crocodile species; it measures only 1.5 meters (4.92′) long (rarely 1.8 meters – 5.90′) and is a shy predator that feeds on insects, frogs, fish and whatever carrion it can find. It is not dangerous to humans unless harassed (although a female protecting her nest will attack any intruders, as do almost all crocodilians). An interesting physical trait is that they are not only armored on the back, as usual in crocodilians, but also in the belly and the throat. This may be a defensive adaptation to compensate for their small size, which makes them more vulnerable to predators such as leopards. These little crocs dig burrows in the riverbank and only come out of said burrows at night; this makes them very hard to see and study, and therefore, we don’t know a lot about this interesting species. Some experts believe that there may be more than just one species of dwarf crocodile. Although bush meat trade (the hunting of wild animals for their meat) and habitat destruction have caused a decline in Dwarf crocodile populations, they are not considered to be as highly endangered as other crocodilians.


8

Slender snouted crocodile

Gabon-22330

Another native of tropical Africa’s rain forests, the slender snouted crocodile is much bigger than the Dwarf crocodile, growing up to 4 meters (13.1′) long. It feeds mostly on fish, but has been known to accept red meat in captivity; one kilogram of meat per day is enough to keep a slender snouted crocodile happy, and just like other crocodilians, it can go without eating for several days, or even weeks. Although not considered dangerous by scientists, the tribes of certain African regions fear these crocodiles, as they claim that they are quite aggressive. Even so, they are physically adapted to go after fish and small prey, and it is unlikely that they will attack humans unless harassed or defending their nest. The call of these crocodiles is said to resemble a truck exhaust backfiring; they also emit a chirping sound, similar to the one produced by baby crocodilians of other species. Unfortunately, this crocodile is endangered due to habitat loss and bush meat trade.

7

False gharial

Z8794

Native to South Eastern Asia, particularly Malaysia and Borneo. It is seldom mentioned as one of the largest crocodilians, but there is plenty of evidence of them reaching incredible sizes, in the range of the 6 to 7 meters (19.6-22.9′). They are called false gharials because their slender snout resembles that of the actual gharial, another crocodilian found in India; however, their jaws are still broader and the largest individuals can prey on large prey, from monkeys to wild boar and deer, instead of only fish. They also feed on carrion when they get the chance. On the other hand, they only attack humans very rarely, and when this happens, it is usually to protect their nest or because they have been harassed first. The False Gharial is endangered due to habitat loss; it is also killed sometimes out of fear and ignorance.


6

Yacare

Esteros Del Ibera Yacare

Sometimes called the “piranha” yacare, the Yacare belongs to the group of the caimans, mostly South American relatives to the famous alligator. The piranha seems to be its favorite prey, hence its popular name. It has also been said that they are called “piranha yacare” due to the protruding teeth of its lower jaw, which resemble the piranha’s. Besides piranhas, they feed on any other fish they can catch, as well as aquatic birds, small mammals and carrion. This is one of the most abundant crocodilians in the world; there are supposedly 100,000 to 200,000 of them living in the swamps and floodplains of Brazil, Bolivia and Argentina. Fortunately, they are rather small (2 meters, rarely 2.5 (8.2′)) and they seldom if ever attack humans (although they can bite if harassed, of course). Unlike Nile or Saltwater crocodiles, which are apex predators and very rarely hunted by other animals, Yacares are preyed upon by jaguars and anacondas, and possibly even by the larger, aggressive Black Caiman.

5

Spectacled caiman

Speccaiman05

The Spectacled caiman is the only caiman that can be found in the Northern Hemisphere (its northernmost range includes the states of Chiapas and Oaxaca in Mexico), and is also the most common crocodilian in the world, with a total population of one million individuals. Spectacled caimans are unusual because they are known to change the color of their skin (although they do so rather slowly), as well as the pattern of black markings on it. As for their name, they owe it to the bony ridge between the eyes, which to some people looks as if the caiman was wearing glasses. Spectacled caimans grow up to 3 meters (9.84′) long, but are usually smaller. Spectacled caimans in Mexico are seemingly smaller on average than those in South America.


4

Dwarf caiman

Trigonatus7-Schneiders Dwarf Caiman-By John White

There are actually two species of dwarf caiman. Due to their small size (usually under 2 meters (6.56′) long), rather cute appearance (big eyes, short upturned snout and what not), and the fact that they are not endangered, Dwarf Caimans have recently became somewhat popular as exotic pets. However, they actually don’t make good pets; just like any other crocodilian, they have powerful jaws and their teeth, although small, can puncture human skin easily and cause wounds that go septic very quickly; even what may seem like a non life-threatening wound may cause an irresponsible owner to end up in the hospital. As is always the case with wild animals, Dwarf Caimans are best left in the wild. These little crocodilians are native to the Amazonian basin in South America; they feed on whatever small animal they can catch and often hunt on dry land, especially at night. Unlike crocodiles, caimans, and particularly dwarf caimans, tend to walk with their neck and head raised well above the ground. I highly recommend this website to those who may be thinking of getting a pet caiman or any other crocodilian.

3

Chinese alligator

Medium-1-1

This little reptile is sometimes credited as being one of the inspirations for the Chinese dragon myths. (Unlike the western dragon, the Chinese version was a short legged, aquatic animal with no traces of wings). This is the only species of genus Alligator, other than the more famous American alligator. But while the latter can grow up to lengths of 5 meters (16.4′) and is aggressive and powerful enough to devour humans, the Chinese gator is a small (1.5 meters 4.92′) long), shy animal that feeds mostly on mollusks. It will also eat any fish or small animal it can catch. Unless provoked, it poses no danger to humans whatsoever. This is one of the world’s most endangered crocodilians, with as few as 200 of them living in the wild nowadays, mostly in the Yangtze river. Fortunately, they breed readily in captivity, but habitat loss and pollution may spell doom for the species in the wild in a few years.


2

Freshwater crocodile

Gall2A

Also known as Johnston’s crocodile, the Australian freshwater crocodile is yet another crocodile with a slender snout adapted to catch fish. Although it bites people on occasion, this happens usually when the crocodile is protecting its nest or territory, or when it has been provoked; most of the time it is a very calm, harmless animal and Australians often swim in places where freshwater crocodiles (locally known as “freshies”) are known to live. Freshwater crocodiles are notorious because of their agility; they are actually capable of galloping on land like a mammal. Usually, they gallop when they feel threatened and want to return to the safety of water as soon as possible. However, they have also been known to charge at intruders in this way. Young individuals of other crocodilian species have also been known to gallop, but the freshwater crocodile are the fastest, reaching speeds of 18 kms p/h (11 m/p/h). Compare that to the average running speed of a normal, healthy man, which is of 24 kms p/h (15 m/p/h). It’s not a big difference really! And let’s consider that freshwater crocodiles have much shorter legs. These crocs can grow up to 3, sometimes 4 meters long (10-13′), but are usually smaller. Although not considered endangered, they are vulnerable to the infamous Cane Toad plague which is spreading in Australia; having evolved separated from Cane Toads, freshwater crocodiles have no natural defenses against the amphibian’s poison, and often die while trying to eat one of them.

1

Gharial

Gharial01Tfk

The Gharial is undoubtedly the most bizarre looking crocodilian. Its very long, very slender snout is adapted to catch fish, as are the interlocking, needle-like teeth. Gharials are possibly the most aquatic of all crocodilians, and they have very short and weak legs; they actually only leave water to bask in the sun and to lay their eggs. This crocodilian is found in India and Nepal, and is among the largest members of the group, reaching 7 meters (23′) in length. Despite their huge size, they are usually harmless to humans; however, they can bite in self defense if provoked. Gharials get their name from the protuberance in the adult male’s snout, which is called a ghara. Gharials use the ghara to produce a sound which is supposed to attract potential mates.

It seems that males also use their ghara to produce bubbles with the same purpose. Some prehistoric crocodilians such as the enormous, dinosaur-eating Sarcosuchus also had a ghara. Who knows what amazing sounds they may have produced! Gharials are, themselves, the last survivors (along with false gharials) of a crocodilian group that was once widely distributed and diverse; remains of gharials and gharial-like crocodilians have been found even in South America! Unfortunately, the survival of the Gharial is, as usual, threatened by the advance of “civilization” and the loss of habitat. There are around 1500 gharials living in the wild nowadays, and the population seems to be declining due to water pollution with heavy metals.



  • Kimani

    The Dwarf caiman is so cute, i want one.

    • bailey

      Yer, I think it’s the massive eyes

  • runningman1901

    Good list!

    I heard a news story about two tourists who were traveling in the Australian outback. Apparently they went for a swim in a pond (or estuary or whatever) and a large Salt Water Croc appeared. Apparently the girl was trapped against a cliff face while the bloke was on the beach, all he could do was watch while the terrible beast leisurely swam up to her and grabbed her in its jaws. In a swirl of water she disappeared and there was nothing he could do!

    The freaky thing about crocs' is that unlike sharks and lions and things we are right within their target for dinner.

    • Kimani

      That was a horrible story, I was hoping for a happy ending. :'-(

    • BenDalton

      yeah the salt water croc has a wider mouth and are bloody huge they attack humans all the time and have the famous death roll. but the fresh water croc as seen here is no way near as dangerous. i was in brisbane australia and saw a saltwater croc and the thing was massive, the power and size of this living dinosaur just amazing. they really are fascinating creatures

      • If Dalton is actually your surname, we may be related on my mum's side of the family.

        • BenDalton

          really im from melbourne australia

          • My mum was born in Broken Hill, but I don't know where her family was from before that. I do know that they had been in Australia since it had been a colony, and the Dalton's were originally from Ireland; counties Clare and Cook (if I remember correctly).

      • 34E

        Agreed, you can't appreciate the size of these things until you see them IRL.

  • Gar

    Nice list and kimani,you whant to have that croc and that croc whants you for dinner.

    • Kimani

      I've eaten crocodile meat so i guess that would make us even.

      • oliveralbq

        ive never been to a wedding (make that, a professionally catered wedding) here in new orleans where there wasnt some form of alligator stew, alligator poppers, or gator-ka-bobs. its extreme popularity gives a very unique memory to people from other parts of the country (who likely never even thought of eating alligators) to come down here, and find gators among the food.

        guests stop in their tracks as they run across alligator/habenaro poppers among the tired old fare present at all weddings. and its typically one of the first things to disappear.

        • deeeziner

          My eldest has been craving gator sausage for a couple of years now…She had her first serving while pregnant.

          Just one mention of "cajun", "alligator", or "meatball" and she'll start with the "Gee I want…"

          It got to be a pain in the ass while watching the boxed set series "True Blood". :)

        • I'd give it a try.
          Drat the cat! I probably ate crock already, down in Mexico. Went to a Mexican restaurant there, on a marsh, bordered by the ocean, with the only menu in English offering dishes such "Food with vegtables"…yes, the spelling was exactly that way.
          There was a shark in a cage off a pier at the back of the restaurant when we arrived. It was gone when we left.
          We just got this enormous pile of completely indiscriminate items, nothing could be identified. It was all delicious, though. We just picked through chunks of this and that until it was all gone.
          We tried to ask what this or that was, but the answers were as indecipherable as was the appearance of the food.
          "Food with vegtables". There had to be crock in there.

          • DogBitez

            "Food with vegtables". You are a very brave woman.

          • ha ha ha!
            Thanks, DogBitz! I never wanted to go to my grave saying, "oh, damn! I forgot to do…."
            So I tend to do a lot of strange things.

          • food with vegtables is one of my favourites —
            it goes quite nice with liquid over frozen water
            and sweet goo with fruit compote

          • mmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm, sweet goo with fruit compote. Yes! And whipped, semi-frozen calf's food, flavored with the pod's of the vanilla plant.

            by the by, just received a nice long e.mail from cas. Having a book published soon, and still rocking and rolling.

        • lo

          i love eating gator/other crocodilians (as long as they are not endangered/also sustainably sourced).

          really fresh and just grilled over wood is the best! the meat has a texture and even taste like a chicken breast crossed with crab legs, wonderful! up here in the midwest we just get "fried gator on a stick" at fairs and fests, or various specialty sausages, but done right it's good eating if you can get it.

          i've never been to new orleans (but did live in south florida, and ate caiman in the amazon, most species around iquitos where i was are CITES listed as "least concern" and you eat what you are offered in the villages), but i bet marinated and grilled gator kabobs with onions, peppers, cherry tomatoes and perhaps fresh pineapple would be delicious! i wish i could cook that tomorrow……

  • Kon

    Wow. I didn't know there WERE this many types of crocodilian. O.O

    Great list, well informed and researched!

  • DogBitez

    Loved your list!

  • Mimz

    Very informative list, and relatively entertaining, but the 'high recommendation' part when it comes to the Dwarf Caiman should have been "DON'T HAVE ONE AS A PET!", as opposed to actually giving some moron an actual website to find and attempt to domesticate wild reptile, regardless of how small.

    • The exotic pet trade (which includes reptiles) is huge. You might be surprised how many people in your neighbourhood have pet snakes and lizards and frogs,

      • Mimz

        Oh I know! And I'm totally guilty of wanting an exotic pet, which is the Serval cat, but I just thought that it was funny how the ListMaker gave out a website to acquire a friggin ALLIGATOR! Servals, if treated right, statistically are extremely good pets and don't snap back into their wild selves…but a FRIGGIN ALLIGATOR? Wow…I mean, it would be neato, but that's just finger suicide.

        P.S. I also want a snake, but a little one, named Smithers. ;)

        • lo

          hey, did you actually look at the linked site? 'cause the very first thing it says is:

          Do caimans, alligators and crocodiles make good pets?

          In a word, no.

          Be quite clear – crocodilians are definitely not suitable for beginners, and they are not recommended even for intermediate-level hobbyists. If you have never owned a reptile before, then take this valuable piece of advice: do not consider purchasing a crocodilian, and instead look at species like skinks, geckos, agamids or small non-venomous snakes.

          This is not being patronizing, because there are far easier and less expensive ways of learning to keep reptiles in captivity. Crocodilians should only be considered by very experienced individuals who have the resources to look after large, demanding reptiles that are difficult to house, difficult to handle, and increasingly expensive to keep.

          -i would say that the link is an honest one. just like people who want primate pets, many people -particularly young people and teens- who want large reptile pets have no idea what they would be getting into. the passing "hey i can keep a baby gator/caiman in a fish tank or kiddie pool" idea is the mark of somebody who needs education about the potential danger, certain expense, certain large habitat needs, and very long lifespans that come with large reptiles. and it appears this site wants to provide that education, at least in a basic way. so it does the opposite of trying to "sell" crocodilians as captive/pet animals. so what's wrong with a link to it?

          • Mimz

            Absolutely nothing. :)

  • bluesman87

    Nice list! been long since a TyB list . Crocodiles kick ass. If i was a crocodile id eat the living bejesus out of humans just cause i could . I'd like to see a list with the most bad ass crocodiles or even just the most bad ass reptiles . I think getting dwarf caiman's or any crocodile is cruel . They need wide open spaces so they can eat the shit out of nature . Crocs rule…

    • Yeah heh heh crocs rule! Dyeh know any good croc movie, the only two which I'v heard are worth a watch are ROGUE and ALLIGATOR. I'm searching for more…

      • bluesman87

        nope, but youtube has some cool videos . Try go to a croc farm or park they the best . Ive seen nile crocs in the wild but they weren't eating , and that is the fun part , sometimes they let you fed them at croc parks .

  • neesha

    Number one is defiantly something I’ve never seen before. It looks like it come right out of a prehistoric book

  • Hinkie

    All I see are 10 pictures of my ex-wife.

    • oliveralbq

      dude — she's absolutely gorgeous
      a true beauty………
      (but she does look a little on the crazy side)

  • I would really like to see number 1 in person, the Gharial. Their strange features seem so interesting to me, especially the size they can grow up to! That must be an exciting and scary experience. :)

  • bonehead

    informative list but not really unique

  • Lifeschool

    Excellent list. Thanks TyB! There is something I love about crocs. Maybe it’s the mean and stealthy way they pop up out of the water with those keen steely eyes; watching, waiting. Or perhaps it’s an almost majestic natural glide counter balanced with their ruthless and relentless death-roll attacks. Not to mention those prehistoric chainsaw teeth!

    Look how they all smile for the camera… :)

    As one of the few prehistoric beasties about these days, they truely are living legends.

    Sheer Respect.

  • KabirBhai

    Almost 3 years ago, my friends and i were having fun in a pond in rural india. Suddenly, one of my friends told us to get out very slowly, without splashing. We thought he was bonkers, so kept playing. Next second, he went crazy, shouting and jumping and we had to get out. And then were pointed towards 2 big ugly brutish gharials, swimming leisurly near us. We almost crapped. Now, of course, we remember it as a fond memory…

    • jeffthemaori

      "We almost crapped."

      So there is something in India besides the food that will cause this to happen.

      • eehehe lol!

      • JustWondering

        Isn't food the overwhelming reason that people crap, in any country?

        • Josh

          Ever heard of Delhi-belly? Or did that joke go over your head? Just wondering!

          • lo

            pretty sure that association is a brit thing/the commonwealth countries too (excluding india itself). it's not in play in the states really at all…… in a lot of places here no indian restaurants even exist.

            we blame cheap, greasy fast food and "mexican"-style drunk food for that problem. of course it's not about something being wrong with any culture's food, it's about eating off ingredients in super cheap places of any style, being drunk, or traveling to a place where you have no developed immunity to local water supply bacteria.

          • bluesman87

            no wrong its about hot curry , no matter where yo are you eat dank hot indian curry and you gonna shit bricks .

  • bluesman87

    awwww fuck off……………….

  • Yaarghh! What an eyesore here! O troll go away, far far away…

  • the dwarf caiman kinda looks
    like a pez dispenser

    • but I'd be a trifle put off by the pez it dispensed.

  • Arsnl

    Hey you. Yeah you the gharial. Say cheese!

  • Just the other day a tourist here in Australia was photographed swimming IN FRONT OF A CROCODILE TRAP. Apparently he had no idea what the huge steel cage was for. Now, I reckon you don't need to be a rocket scientist to figure out that a trap is a trap and when it's set down in a body of water where crocodiles are known to frequent, any paddling around that trap is not gonna end well. However ignorance is bliss and he safely got out of the water, probably none the wiser. So come on Down Under and meet our massive friends, but remember the old Peter Pan song "Never smile at a crocodile …"

    • bluesman87

      what about that crazy Aussie who got drunk tried to ride the salt water croc ……and survived! That was madness !!

      • Hey, we're a fun country, but not always a smart country.

        • I was quite young when I lived in Sydney, but I remember vividly the shark nets, and the flags, and going to the sheep stations some of the family owned, I would be either told it was okay to paddle about, or to stay far away from the river. I was taught to be mortally afraid of "Salties" and Bull Sharks…well, all Sharks.
          Now, of course, I know which to fear and which not to…and even the ones we fear are not always to be feared.
          Except Salties. I'll always give them ground.

        • jeffthemaori

          Very True :-D

      • Gitty up Cowboy!!!

      • bluesman87

        Haha i agree but i see most souther colonialist like that- thats why we own rugby here in the southern hemisphere .

        • my youngest daughter played league rugby for eleven years. Front line. Hooker for 9, prop for two.
          Her team never lost a game.

    • "but remember the old Peter Pan song "Never smile at a crocodile "

      You stole my comment right from my keyboard!?!? :)

      That song has been rattling around in my brain for the last week…I just burst into song at the weirdest moments. Now that TyB has written this list, perhaps it may pass.

      • Didn't mean to steal your thunder deeeziner :(. But it is a bit scary that you've got that song in your head and then this list comes out.

        • No worries….I still got some spotlight. :)

          Now if I could only use my powers for personal gain…….bwah ha hahhhhhhh!

  • hybrid

    Who here thinks Crocs are way cooler than sharks or bears?

    • Even steven.
      Shark week begins Sunday! My favorite week of the year!

    • there isnt anything cooler than a sloth bear…….
      …..
      ……….except for maybe zombie jaguars that eat people's brains.

      • Now *that's* a disturbing thought…thanks, ollie, I'll be dreaming about those zombie jaguars any ole night now…

  • henrysmyagent

    Kudos to the list maker! This is an excellent list. Well researched and well written by an author who obviously enjoys the subject.

  • Tony

    When I was a kid I used to read these Willard Price books – which were all about these two pious brothers who, with the help of their African manservant, went about collecting wild animals and harassing the local natives. Anyway, in one these books there was an epic battle between a bunch of crocs and sharks, reading this sort of crap as a boy was excellent and it was the best battle ever, the salty crocs won of course. This list reminded me of that, thanks for the memory TyB!

  • Amrendra

    what a coincidence.just 10 minutes came back from the Raneh Falls Ghariyal Sanctury ( Ken River,Khajuraho, Madhya Pradesh, India) and saw nice looking ghariyals and ended up in the office reading about the number one crocodile…yes indeed they are bizzare but such an awesome creation of nature.

  • a very well-done list, TyB! Your list writing skills are getting better, and it's noticeable.

    just one thing-aren't American Alligators the most populous of the crocodilians, not the spectacled caimen? After being on the endangered species act of 1973, having their numbers proliferate, and being subsequently removed from the ESA, I would say that the American alligator has defied the odds, demonstrated what makes crocodilians so successful (opportunistic feeders, good reproductive rates, good mothers).

    Here in Florida, the estimated alligator population hovers at around 1.5 million. So the species is doing very well for itself.

  • Well well, was I ignorant about the topic in question? I have seen the Gharial in captivity during childhood… I remember them being long…. Nice list. Well done.

  • oliveralbq

    another fine list from tyler — well done sir

    i was looking for the leucistic alligator, though
    there was an exhibit at the aquarium of the americas, here in new orleans, showcasing some rare white alligators. albino alligators, i thought.
    albino alligators considered good luck — something about looking into the eyes of the white alligator brings good luck…anyway….

    jump to hurricane katrina (aug 2005) — while the aquarium escaped flooding, the subsequent power outages and staff evacuations caused nearly 10,000 animal deaths (ive seen an estimate of over 95% of the aquarium inhabitants were killed). 5 types of animals survived —
    **from a cnn article — 11 days after the hurricane hit waveland, mississippi:**
    ""The sea otters, penguins, leafy and weedy sea dragons, birds (macaws and raptors), and the white alligator are fine," the association said on its Web site""
    that was it — all other species dead.

    when i moved back, i went to the revamed aquarium, the white alligators were there. as i was passing, ioverheard an aquarium employee tell a group of children about the special albino alligators housed there. an honest mistake, or an oversight? i don't know, but a parent shaperone said — 'excuse me. these arent albino alligators. their eyes are blue. these are leucistic alligators.'

    i didnt know there was such a thing as a white, non albino alligator — i never gave it any thought. and that aquarium always had what i thought were albino alligators.

    evidently, they never did have one.
    the leucistic alligators were what i had seen — a fascinating and unique animal for sure.

    • white crock

      i saw white crocks (or alligators?) at Audubon Zoo in New Orleans couple years ago. very cool actually.

    • I would seriously mourn the loss of so much marine life.
      (Not that I didn't, and still don't mourn for the people…I still do. I still have nightmares).
      I live in a Marine Mammal Conservancy. Our ocean is pristine. we are constantly, in every little way, taught to keep it that way, and to report any abnormalities. I can't count the number of otters, seal, and sea lions I have called in to the various rescue squads; animals who were sick, or had been attacked by sharks, or were dead of mysterious causes.
      Everyone I know does the same.
      We have an Elephant Seal Rookery. It has had to be fenced off from the public, because tourists would actually approach the big Bull Elephant Seals, trying to mate with a female, for a photo op!
      If we had crocks, we'd treat them exactly the same.

      • oliveralbq

        we found out about the aquarium deaths virtually rightaway, and it sucked ass. (a friend was a charter boat captian, and went throught the gulf of mexico, into the delta, and up the mississippi river to evaluate the destruction in new orleans.

        (i)
        look — the imax theatre is at the aquarium. being my preferred spot to catch flicks — the audubon zoo, the centergy imax, and the aquarium of the americas are all run by the audubon society…… if you hold a ticket to an imax showing, you get discounts too the aquarium. by tix to the zoo, and its damn near free to check the aquarium. at any rate, i had been there about 25 times, and the thought of all those poor animals bugged the shit out of me.

        (ii)
        — see –hurricane katrina was a no-bullshit, very angry storm. on the beach in mississippi (where i was, and where it made landfall) everyhing was destroyed. pieces of houses, and boats from the gulfport, ms harbour blocked the streets. there was a fucking car in my living room…where am i going with this? in a helio flight over the mississipppi gulf coast (biloxi to bay st. louis),, and then into new orleans, the devistation was shocking — and like — the emotion cubby in my brain was temporarily scrambled and full. it didnt even register at first because i also had 193 friends i didnt know where were. its always bugged me that we couldnt properly mourn for the animals. it was very very sad, but we had so much crap going on, what with tombstones and corpes in the street, and the dolfin from the gulfport aquarium lying under the next door neighbour's porch, screaming at us and houses just disentagrated and gone gone.

        (iii)
        just due to the massive numbers of dead, the appropriate anlalogy isnt like losing a pet, or a zebra from the zoo — it like losing an entire city. if there werent 79 other shitty things going on at the time, so many people would have been crushed and spent emotionally. unfortunately, trying to find all the pieces of their house 3 streets over from where it was the day before took precidence.

        • lo

          god, how horrid. i read about the power loss at the aquarium early on and it stuck with me (i actually heard it on NPR on my way to the eye doctor and they were interviewing employees, i had one of those moments where i couldn't leave the car 'till the story ended and was late), but it all blended with the human tragedy as you said, and i was nowhere near there at the time.

          i truly hope y'all will stay safe this season, it's predicted to be a strong one. and then there's the thought that the oil that is still going to be coming ashore for who knows how long could be sucked up by a storm system and dropped inland…..

          my thoughts are with your region and city.

        • 2manycats

          And all the people with their children and pets coming to SE Texas and then Hurricane Rita struck us. Bad deal on the weather. We tried to help Katrina victems and ended up getting nailed by Hurricane Rita in the evacuation area. Being paranoid is a safety device when it comes to the Gulf.
          I stayed for Ike. It was life on Mars. Storm surge trashed my town (Bridge City), no birds, no insects, no sound at all.

  • nicoleredz3

    TyB at his best, once again! I want an African Dwarf Crocodile! Awww… :-)

    And RingtailRoxy is right; your writing skills have improved! Keep up the excellent work. I will continue to look out for your lists.

  • brock

    what about those crocodiles who live in amazone and in nile river

    • what about em?
      #4…#5…#6…#8…#9 qualify to some degree or another.

  • Awesome list, TyB! I love crocodiles and alligators. I would love to have a Dwarf Caiman, but I know that I really shouldn't. Wild animals belong in the wild, not in a home. People need to stick with cats and dogs.
    Great list as always.

  • Interesting list about one of nature's oldest, successful species…I rather think of the crocodilians as "wise".

    Seems that this is one of the few Jungle threats that old Hollywood film makers could get "right". As opposed to constrictors being used for a deadly venomous snake….or bats always being shown as panther sized beasties.

    Whenever Tarzan got into it with a crocygator you knew he had his hands full.

    I've always felt very sympathetic to the peoples who have had to raise their kids and livestock in alligator/crocodile infested regions.

  • bluesman87

    i agree with you , but wouldn't it be cool if your croc met you at the door with its tale wagging and tongue hanging out ? Or if it played fetch and curled up at your feet while you watched TV ? Imagine the look on the postman's face when this bugger comes charging up to the front gate!
    My friend has a nile croc as a pet on his small plot . It stays by itself in a big pond / small lake it mostly eats fish so they feed it very little , but its quit tame and never bothers humans . But those thing do grow quiet big!

    • Arsnl

      Dude crocs dont have a tongue. Or have a very short one. Im not sure. But certainly they cant do like a dog.
      Plus they’re cold bloded so i imagine it would be very cold when they’d curl around you feet.
      Sure you can dream about it. But you know its not real.

    • yeah….until it bites your foot off! No thanks.
      I'll just live with my cat as he plots world domination. :)

  • vanowensbody

    Great list, great subject matter, well written. Thanks.

  • Fantastic list as always from you TyB – here where I live on the upper east coast of SA there are massive rivers that flow into the sea, and you often read in the papers how bodies get dumped into them, by the bad guys.

    These crocks eat their fill and store the rest of the body in underwater caves etc.and it makes identification practically zero of body parts that might wash up at a later stage.

    Thanks again great list.

    • bluesman87

      I had a biology teacher who went up there on a fishing trip , he told me a story of how one fisher man was grabbed by a huge krokodil from the lagoons edge and dragged straight under and didn't come up , then his friend jumped straight in after him to try help him but before people could even shout "NO DONT" he was gone as well . That story always stuck with me and terrified me for years . Ironically here in gauteng i go swimming in the crocodile river all the time and never fear a thing except pollution or maybe a legavaan .

      • I've never heard of a legavaan attacking people, but they are BIG though.

        • bluesman87

          ya they just look too much like a crocodile when you swimming in the river and they slip off the banks and under the water . Seriously scary .

  • But why crocodiles..Why not Snakes…??

  • If African Dwarf crocs are hard to see and study, how do we know that thier population is declining? Just wondering.

  • It's terribly sad that Ghariels are being killed by Heavy Metal. :'( Who knew Canadian animations from the Eighties were so destructive?

  • P.S. Excellent list from the esteemed TyB.

  • brock

    what about my cockodillian guys?

  • TEX

    Famine yesterday – feast today – excellent list TyB, really enjoyed it.
    Here’s a 400 lb gator not too far from my house – poor guy was moving out of a flooded area and got hit by a car, sadly he had to be put down. It REALLY upset a lot of people – he/she was beautiful. http://durangotexas.blogspot.com/2009/06/10-foot-

  • mailedbypostman

    Too crocodilian centered.

    • Alex

      I think that was the point :)

    • joe the egg

      no shit Sherlock

  • When I was a kid, I used to be obsessed with all things reptile and amphibian. I guess you could say it was a passion of mine, at least as passionate as a fifth grader can be! Good list, it brought me back

  • Lifeschool

    Somebody mentioned youtube videos, here are three of my favourites + somebody mentioned croc vs bear?

    Croc Vs Wildebeest:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=28c-nsEf8PY

    Alligator vs Watermellon
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9xVwIuB-Xm4

    Croc vs Hippo & Baboons
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2nljY6MZ8UA

    +
    Alligator vs black bear:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FxG1NxQPorU

  • Another excellent list from our esteemed TyB! How I do wait for TyB's lists! I always know I will learn something, and that the science folk on the list will add pertinent points to make it even better.

    I believe I may have told this story before, but I have had a close encounter with a croc of some sort, I'm sure TyB will able to clear up what kind, while I was in the Yucatan.
    I was driving from Cancun to Chitzen-Itza, when it became dark, and I had to stop for the night. The first hotel I found was a small place, on the beach, without electricity or phones. Still, the rooms were beautiful, all blue and orange, open to the sea, and I paid my absurdly small nightly fee.
    A restaurant sprang up, literally, a few yards down the sand, when the fishing fleet came in for the night. Suddenly tables and chairs appeared, a barbecue was lit, and extremely fresh fish was being served.
    Afterward, I wanted to call home.
    No phones.
    The dive shop owners told me there was a phone in the "American Hotel" several kilometers down the beach. Then he repeated, several times, walk in the water, walk where the water meets the sand. He kept repeating this.
    By now, it was pitch black out, nothing but stars. As I was walking and walking and walking, I noticed, way up the beach, a line of lights, like the lights you line your driveway with.
    "I'll follow those", I thought. So I walked up the sand to the lights, and saw that on the other side was a marsh of some kind.
    As I began to walk, I noticed a sort of Bullfrog sound. A burping. And I knew it meant crock's.
    I ran down the beach so fast it had to be funny to see, sure there was a hugh crocodile right behind me.
    I didn't look back until I reached the ocean. There was, of course, nothing.
    But I learned some valuable respect.
    Someday I may mention the stupid swim I took in the warm, dark ocean teeming with sharks…no, I didn't know they were there.

    • lo

      i once did a stupid shark swim too! i was 22, and had been drinking with a friend north of miami (not on a spring break, a family trip) and in our whiskeyed-up state thought "wave jumping" in the warm night surf was the best idea ever. fortunately for us, about half an hour passed without incident and then a hotel employ came out and warned us to get out of the water during the sharks' "dinner time". i learned my lesson -only risk night swimming in pools or small temperate zone freshwater lakes free of reptiles aside from perhaps turtles…..

      • Mine was in Cancun, at the end of a very long day of shooting, followed by the flight "from from h*ll".
        To say I was exhausted by the time we checked into our hotel is a vast understatement, but there was this beautiful, warm ocean just waiting to be swum in, and I'd be darned if was going to end my day without an ocean swim!
        So I blithely went down to the beach and plunged in, deciding to swim out to a wooden raft about 100 yards off shore. I got about 1/3rd of the way when I starred to hear the beach boys yelling, but since they were yelling in Spanish (which I don't speak) it did me no good.
        Finally, someone who spoke English began to yell, "Sharks! Feeding Sharks! Sharks!"
        I know, for a fact, that I regained the beach faster than I have ever swum in my life. Probably broke a few Olympic records.
        Went back to my hotel room, glad to be alive, to the message that we were changing Hotels. Other side of the peninsula. Older, very grand Hotel.
        Next morning, woke to a Tropical Storm, just a few knots below Hurricane strength. The entire first floor of the Hotel was under four feet of water. That was where all the camera gear was.

        • TyB

          Segues, if the animal who scared you so much in Cancun was really a crocodile, it was probably a Morelet's croc, a medium sized, relatively docile species. If it was growling it is most likely that it was simply calling a potential mate (don`t worry, I don`t think the call was meant for you), and that you were not in real danger. Even so, it was a good choice to keep your distance from the water; I was attacked by a protective Morelet's crocodile once, after foolishly mimicking a baby croc's sound over her nest. She didn`t touch me, but even a smallish species like this can kill you if defending her nest.
          Thanks for sharing your experience!

  • Crikey! Good job TyB. Interesting read, as always. I bow to your vast zoological knowledge! Thanks for sharing it.

  • It's a sad life to spend when you're known as the False Ghariel. That's like spending your childhood being "False Amy'
    "…no, that's not Amy who lives three houses down. She just looks like Amy."

    Fascinating list, TyB. Keep churning out these great lists!

    • Arsnl

      Kinda like “i cant belive its not a gharial” gharial. Its made in malaysia so it must be a rip-off. Cheap stuff. Buy the original.

  • Wonder how many types of peacocks are there…

  • redcaboose

    Nice list. I did not realize there was such a diversity. They would be fun to see in person. Behind a fence.

  • At our local aquarium, there's a False Gharial. I thought it was a pretty cool creature.

  • I love these nature lists! Great work.

  • sami

    The dwarf crocodiles are sooooooooo cute but I must say I frown upon the exotic pet trade. The fact that animals are become so endangered/extinct for things like their meat or their tusks/horns or their pelt is just so sad to me. I read an article about how this wildlife preserve in Africa lost their very last rhinoceros, a female, because poachers got to her at night and took her horn, leaving her to bleed to death. What the heck do you do with a rhino horn?

    And I didn't know there was such a large variety of crocs -so cool. The gharials look scary but awesome.

  • Alex

    Yes! A specific list based on factual information and not biased-this is more like it, Listverse!

    Fascinating list :)

  • Who says that dinosaurs are extinct?

  • Paul S

    awesome list but what about the White Alligator??
    http://www.reserveorlando.com/blog/uploaded_image

  • KK07

    Really cool list, no ones ever told me much about crocodiles before :)

  • Chris

    Does anyone know why crocs do the death roll with their prey? It's because after so many years of eating humans they've learned to wash the dirty bastards first.

  • Tyra

    Indeed a great and informative article with those nice pictures. Really appreciate it. Keep on writing one.

  • Chantinelle

    In Brazil we call Number 6 ‘Jacaré’. I saw one already free as a bird in a Rio de Janeiro’s Swamp ^_^

    Gharial is so prehistoricky!!
    Dwarf Caiman cutteee!

    Thanks for the list! *luv reptiles*

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  • kh

    “slender” snout croc?
    oh god….