Skin of Crocodile
The skin of crocodilians is thick and cornified, and is clad in non-overlapping scales known as scutes, arranged in regular rows and patterns. The outer surface of the scutes consists of the relatively rigid beta-keratin while the hinge region between the scutes contains only the more pliable alpha-keratin. These scutes are strengthened by bony plates known as osteoderms, which are the same size and shape as the superficial scales but grow beneath them. They are most numerous on the back and neck of the animal and may form a protective armour. They often have prominent, lumpy ridges and are covered in hard-wearing beta-keratin. Most of the skin on the head is fused to the skull.The skin on the neck and flanks is loose, while that on the abdomen and underside of the tail is sheathed in large, flat square scutes arranged in rows.
About the animal
Crocodiles are large reptiles found in tropical regions of Africa, Asia, the Americas and Australia. They are members of the order Crocodilia, which also includes caimans, gharials and alligators. There are 13 species of crocodiles, so there are many different sizes of crocodile. The smallest crocodile is the dwarf crocodile. It grows to about 5.6 feet (1.7 meters) in length and weighs 13 to 15 pounds (6 to 7 kilograms). The largest crocodile is the saltwater crocodile. The largest one ever found was 20.24 feet (6.17 m) long. They can weigh up to 2,000 pounds (907 kg). Crocodiles are carnivores, which mean they eat only meat. In the wild, they feast on fish, birds, frogs and crustaceans. Crocodiles live in tropical climates for a reason. They are cold-blooded and cannot generate their own heat. During colder months, they hibernate or go dormant. Crocodiles will also go dormant during long periods of drought. To create a place to hibernate, they dig out a burrow in the side of river bank or lake and settle in for a long sleep. Crocodiles lay 10 to 60 eggs at a time. The hatchlings stay in their eggs for 55 to 110 days. They are 7 to 10 inches (17.8 to 25.4 centimeters) long when they are born and don’t mature until they are 4 to 15 years. How long a crocodile lives depends on its species. Some only live to around 30 years, while others live up to 75 years.