Kingdom: Animalia

Phylum: Chordata

Class: Reptilia

Order: Crocodilia

Family: Crocodylidae

Genus: Crocodylus

Specimen Description

Crocodiles are polyphyodont (a polyphyodont is any animal whose teeth are continually replaced during its entire life time). They are able to replace each of their 80 teeth up to 50 times in their 35- to 75-year lifespan. There is a small replacement tooth and an odontogenic stem cell in the dental lamina in standby that can be activated if required, which is present next to each of the full-grown tooth. The tooth can be grown long and sharp. In some species the tooth can protrude out even when the mouth is closed. The protruding tooth is a helpful feature to identify and describe the species.

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.