Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Nile Crocodiles 01

I’ve mostly filmed american alligators but on few occasions I had the chance to document the behavior of their more aggressive cousins, the nile crocodiles. On one occasion, the crocodiles ran immediately into the water as soon as I approached to set up my camera. It took approximately twenty minutes until the first crocodiles re emerged from the water to continue basking in the sun. I didn’t realized that I must have stepped to close to the water, when in a flash of a second a crocodile leaped out of the water with a loud snap before disappearing again. Fortunately, its jaws missed my leg by a few feet and I learned a valuable lesson that day. Nile crocodiles are the largest crocodiles after the saltwater crocodiles, reaching between 11 and 16 feet in lengths. Their average weight is about 500 lb but larger specimens can weight up to 1600 lb. The largest measured crocodile was shot near Mwanza, Tanzania, measuring 21.2 ft and weighting ca. 2400 lb. Such large crocodiles have to face not many threats, except from large crocodiles, hippos and humans. 
Nile crocodiles are apex predator with the unique ability of prey in water as well as on land. Most hunting on land is done at night by lying in ambush near forest trail or roadsides near water. Attacks are unpredicted and swift on any other animal equal or smaller size. Outside water crocodiles can meet competition from other dominate predators such as lions, leopards, hyaenas and will even feed on such predators if giving a chance.
Nevertheless, nile crocodiles do not only feed on large prey such as antelopes, zebras and other hoof stock, but they snatch up smaller prey like birds and rodents, that venture to close to the water. All crocodiles prey frequently on reptiles like lizards, snakes and even on their own kind. Crocodiles are immune to venomous snake bites and won't hesitate to prey on a fully grown Black Mamba.

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