Crocodiles are very old, like dinosaurs and birds they descended from the archosaurs that roamed the earth 250 million years ago.Archosaurs – Ancestors of both crocodiles and dinosaurs/birds
Although it may be difficult for the layperson to recognize, birds and crocodiles are evolutionarily “siblings”. Biologists recognize similarities in the skull structure, in the cardiovascular system and in the feet.
Today the order of crocodiles is divided into three families: true crocodiles, alligators (including caimans) and gavials. These three families include 26 species.
In the following table all crocodile species are listed according to size (in meters) . However, the 4 largest crocodile species in the world are explained in more detail with photos. Then comes the biggest crocodile of all time.
|26||Brow smooth caiman||1,50|
|24||Stumpfkrokodil „Dwarf crocodile“||1,90|
|21||spectacled caiman||2,70 (3,00)|
|20||Australian Crocodile “Freshie”||< 3,00|
|19||lumpy crocodile||3,00 (4,30)|
|18||Southern New Guinea Crocodile||> 3,00|
|16||New Guinea crocodile||3,50|
|13||Central African armored crocodile||> 3,50|
|12||West African armored crocodile||< 4,00|
|10||West African crocodile||< 4,00 (5,00)|
|8||Mississippi-Alligator||< 5,00 (5,84)|
|7||Sunda-Gavial „Falscher Gavial“||5,00 (6,10)|
|6||Schwarzer Kaiman „Mohrenkaiman“||> 5,00 (6,10)|
|5||Orinoko-Krokodil||> 6,00 (6,80)|
4. American Crocodile – Largest crocodile in the Americas
With a record length of 6.10 meters and a weight of 907 kilos, the American crocodile ( Crocodylus acutus ) is the largest crocodile on the American continent and the 4th largest in the world.
It is mainly distributed in the Central American countries of Dominican Republic, Mexico and Puerto Rico. There are also about 1,000 free-living specimens in the US, in the brackish swamps of southern Florida.
The American crocodile, also known as the “American crocodile”, should not be confused with the American alligator or Missippi alligator ( Alligator mississippiensis ), which, with a maximum body length of less than 5 meters, only took 8th place among the largest crocodiles and also in Florida is based.
The American crocodile is classified as moderately aggressive compared to other crocodile species. Attacks on humans do occur but are rarely fatal. Dogs and goats, on the other hand, are more common on his menu.
3. the greatest gavial
At first glance you can see what the special identification mark of the Ganges Gavial (also Real Gavial) is. The bulb (ghara) on the pointed snout armed with 110 teeth only grows in the male animals. This increases the hissing sound emitted from the nostrils. This menacing sound can be heard well from a distance.
The largest male gharials grow to a good 6 meters in length. However, there are several reports from hunters at the beginning of the 20th century who report animals that were 7 or even 9 meters long . It is possible that the largest gavials, which, like all crocodiles, grow their whole lives and therefore only reach their maximum size when they are old, were killed by hunters and fishermen.
About 15 years ago, the gharial was considered almost extinct in the wild: in 2006 fewer than 250 specimens were counted. Due to reintroduction programs and stricter protection measures, the population in Indian and Nepalese nature reserves seems to be recovering somewhat in recent years.
2. The second largest crocodile in the world and the largest crocodile in Africa
The Nile crocodile not only lurks in the Nile, but can also be found on and in rivers and lakes in large parts of Africa. With its maximum size of 6.50 meters, it is not only the largest crocodile in Africa, but also the second largest in the world. Such extraordinarily large animals weigh more than a ton. However, the average male Nile crocodile is only between 3 and 5 meters long and weighs between 225 and 750 kilos. The females are significantly smaller and lighter.
During the day, the social Nile crocodiles relax in groups on the banks of water, with the oldest and largest males enjoying the best sunning spots. They are also prepared to defend them to the death. (Reptiles rely much more on the warming power of the sun than mammals do)
At night, the Nile crocodile glides into the water to hunt. The prey consists of fish, turtles and water snails, but the Nile crocodile does not shy away from larger mammals such as wildebeest or leopards. The Nile crocodile swallows small animals whole, while large animals try to push them under water until they drown.
The Nile crocodile also sees humans as prey, so caution is advised when playing and having fun in the water
1. The world’s largest crocodile
The name saltwater crocodile already indicates a special feature of the largest crocodile in the world: It is the only crocodile that can stay permanently in the salt water of the sea. So report fishermen of saltwater crocodiles in the open sea 1000 kilometers from the coast.
As a rule, however, it inhabits the brackish mangrove swamps and estuaries in South-East Asia, in India and also on the Australian north coast.
The average height of the males is between 4 and 5.5 meters. The largest male saltwater crocodiles (that’s what saltwater crocodiles are also called) even reach a length of 7 meters. However, only very few saltwater crocodiles have these dimensions, which may also be due to the increased hunting of the particularly large specimens. According to the square-cube law, a 7 meter long crocodile would weigh between 1500 and 2000 kilos.