Lords of the Sea: The Saltwater Crocodile
In our regular blog feature, Lords of the Sea, we look at the apex predators of the sea - those species who are generally top of their respective food chains. Today, we profile the Saltwater Crocodile.
Crocodylus porosus, the saltwater crocodile, is the worlds largest reptile. The saltwater crocodile is a crocodilian native to saltwater habitats and brackish wetlands from India's east coast across Southeast Asia to northern Australia. In Australia, Crocodylus porosus is found along the northern coast and for up to 100km inland.
Crocodiles themselves first appeared over 240 million years ago during the Mesozoic Era. If left to thrive, saltwater crocodiles can live up to 80 years and can grow to a whopping length of 28 feet (8.5 metres) and weigh over a ton!
Not only are saltwater crocodiles the largest reptile in the world, but they also have quite the legacy. Crocodiles themselves also first appeared over 240 million years ago during the Mesozoic Era. So, are crocodiles a dinosaur?
Well, crocodiles have been thriving since before the dinosaurs went extinct, and in many ways seems to resemble a dinosaur, but no, crocodiles are not dinosaurs. Crocodiles are reptiles. Even though they almost certainly have a common ancestor with dinosaurs, they are a separate branch of the reptilian family tree.
The saltwater crocodile is an opportunistic apex predator. It patiently waits for its prey, lurking beneath the surface of the water, and will feed on anything it can get its jaws around, including water buffalo, deer and cattle, wild boar, sharks, and human beings. Yes - the saltwater crocodile is indeed a man-eating reptile. They have been known to pull humans into the water and drown them, before eating them.
Saltwater crocodiles are particularly aggressive during breeding season. The temperature of the egg when laid will determine the sex of the crocodile at birth. The saltwater crocodile is indeed a terrifying apex predator, and should certainly be considered lord of all waters it inhabits.