All About the Ox

It’s a common saying to remark that a person is as strong as an ox, but what does this mean?

The powerful strength of oxen is unparalleled to most other animals.

What You Should Know

An ox is a domesticated form of mammal with horns. It once traveled in large herds across Europe, North America, Africa, and Asia. In many of these areas, it has since disappeared completely. Australia and South America have no wild ox.

Oxen are herbivores. They only eat plants. They will also consume grains found on farms they work on.

What Sound Do They Make?

The ox commonly makes a low bellowing sound. It almost sounds like a cow, in many ways.

Group Characteristics

Because the ox is a castrated adult male cattle breed, it cannot reproduce on its own. The ox is castrated to make it a more powerful worker and easier to control. Adult male cattle that aren’t castrated are considered bulls. The bull and cows mate to create more cattle. Then, the ox is chosen from that litter to continue handling the workload.

The musk ox is a different species that can reproduce. These animals live in the wild and birth single calves after a nine-month gestation period.

How Many are There?

The ox is a domesticated animal that isn’t in danger of extinction. Even the musk ox, is listed as Least Concern by the IUCN. The number of mature animals is considered to be between 133,914 and 136,914. The major threats to these wild animals include hunting, trapping, climate change, and severe weather.

Pop Culture

The ox is not a popular character in movies or TV. It can be found in older films depicting farm life before modern gadgets existed.

The ox is most known as part of the Chinese zodiac. The Year of the Ox is the second of all zodiac animals. In one myth, the Jade Emperor claimed the order was due to how the guests arrived at the party. The Ox was going to be first, but the Rat asked for a ride. When they arrive, the Rat jumped off and landed ahead of the Ox, making it the second animal to the party. The Chinese continue to value the ox because of its role in agriculture. It’s also considered to be a hardworking and honest animal.

Interesting Facts

The cow and the ox are very different members of the Bovinae subfamily. While they are all born the same, the way they are trained and treated molds them into the creatures they become. There aren’t a lot of differences between the two, but humans can differentiate once everyone knows what to look for.

Typically, the ox is more intelligent than a standard cow. That’s because the ox undergoes more training. It’s taught to respond appropriately to the handler’s commands. It is trained with whip prodding, ropes or through sound commands.

The other major difference is strength. Because of all the training, the ox becomes strong and capable. It has a more muscular, massive and sturdy build than the cow. You won’t find the same level of muscles on a cow that you do with the oxen. This is needed, primarily when the ox is tasked with heavy-duty hauling or lifting jobs.

All About the Agama Lizard

The Agama lizard is a generic name given to a large group of small to medium-sized, long-tailed Old World lizards.

This is one of the most common names to distinguish more than 35 species of lizards.

What You Should Know

The Agama lizard is found throughout most of sub-Saharan Africa. It lives among any wild, suburban or urban area that has enough vegetation to supply insects and shelter for reproduction. This lizard is a flexible animal, that easily adapts to any environment.

The Agama lizard hunts by vision, so it will wait for insects to come close to it. Then, it uses its tongue to hold onto its prey. This insectivore eats ants, termites, and beetles. Occasionally, it has also been known to eat small mammals and reptiles as well. It also enjoys vegetation such as fruits, grasses, and flowers. 

What Sound Do They Make?

The majority of lizards don’t make any audible sounds at all. Occasionally, a hissing sound is heard, which communicates fear and discomfort. Others have been heard making a low growing or squealing sound.

Group Characteristics

The majority of Agama lizards live among small groups. Each one has a dominant male that rules over a few sub-males and several females. They start their day by sunning themselves in the morning. During this time, the dominant male takes the most elevated spot, while the subordinates bask in lower areas.

A female Agama lizard reaches maturity around 18 months old with the male following behind at two years old. Agama lizards reproduce during the wet season, but they could reproduce any time of the year. Female lizards lay eggs in a hole using her claws and snout. It’s usually found in damp, wet and sandy soil that’s exposed to sunlight. She will lay five to seven eggs at a time. These eggs hatch after eight to ten weeks.

Immediately, these hatchlings start eating insects, plants, and sand. This adolescent remains solitary during the first two months. Once it hits four months old, the lizard joins with a group. 

How Many Are There?

The IUCN Red List labels the Agama lizard as Least Concern with a stable population. More research is required to determine the current population of this lizard species. The top threat to this animal is snakes, which prey on the Agama lizard as food.

Pop Culture

Lizards are a typical character in today’s TV and movies. With so many species falling into the Agama category, it’s challenging to pick out just the ones that fit. Even with Disney movies, lizards, in general, are found in a slew of animated films.

Interesting Facts

Agama lizards also go by the name rainbow lizards. They put on a colorful display, mostly put on by the dominant male. The majority of Agama lizards are green and brown, but the male quickly shows off while rapidly turning their bodies to a blue color while switching the head to yellow and red.

The word Agama is traced back to the West African Gbe language. This is the same name used for a chameleon. Initially, the name was brought to Dutch Guiana by the West African slaves that were imported into the area. Then, it was used in Creole languages to define all of the local lizards. 

Agama lizards can reach 15.7 inches long, depending on which species it is.

The Agama lizard survives for a long time in the wild unless it encounters snakes. The average lifespan tends to be between 25 and 28 years.

The entire Agama lizard is covered with scales. This lizard has scales across its thighs, neck, and head.

All About the Zebra

The zebra is an equid and member of the horse family, but it’s quite different from its relatives.

This animal features exceptional eyesight and hearing. They also move up to 35 miles per hour.

What You Should Know

Zebras live in different habitats, depending on what type it is. Grevy’s zebras live in Kenya, Somalia, and Ethiopia among the semi-arid grassland. The mountain zebra lives in Namibia and Angola among the arid, rocky slopes. Plains zebras are the most abundant. They live in Eastern to Southern Africa among the grasslands.

All zebras are herbivores. They feed on grass, bushes, stems, and leaves. They spend hours each day eating and utilize their front teeth to clip off tough stems. When the dry season arrives, the zebra has to travel to find water and food.

What Sound Do They Make?

The zebra communicates with other animals using a variety of sounds and facial expressions. They produce a loud braying, barking sounds and snorts.

Group Characteristics

A zebra foal is born following the 11 to 12 month gestation period. It will stand right after birth and walk within 15 minutes. After an hour, it can run. The newborn comes into the world with a mane reaching down the back to the tail. It is white, black and brown. It takes four months until the zebra starts to change colors. About half of zebras die as infants because of the spotted hyena or lion.

How Many are There?

The IUCN lists the Plains Zebra as Near Threatened. Currently, there are only 150,000-250,000 left in the wild. Some of the major threats include disease, poaching and the loss of habitat. There are only approximately 25,000 Mountain Zebra remaining and they are classified as Threatened.

Pop Culture

The zebra isn’t as well known in popular culture as the horse, but it still plays a valuable role in TV and movies. While it’s often used as a miscellaneous character, there are some instances where it took the lead. In movies such as Khumba, Racing Stripes, and Madagascar, the lead was a zebra. Zecora, is also a recurring character in My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic.

In the movie Fantasia, we see two centaurs being depicted as half zebra and half-human. Typically, this creature would be half-horse and half-human.

Another common place to find the zebra is as a mascot. Some of the most notable include Fruit Stripe gum and Zebra Technologies. The Botswana coat of arms also features the zebra.

Sports teams aren’t afraid to use the zebra as the official’s nickname, especially because their striped uniforms reflect the animal’s style. You will find this outfit used in ice hockey, basketball, and American football.

Interesting Facts

TU-103 is a strain of Clostridium bacteria found in zebra feces. Scientists found that this can be converted into cellulose and used for butanol fuel.

African folk tales talk about zebras. They have stories about how the animal got its stripes. Namibia tales say the zebra was all white but received its lines after a fight in a waterhole with a baboon. It kicked the baboon so hard that it lost its balance and fell over a fire. The fire sticks scorched marks on the white coat.

Zebras have been a common focal point in art. The stripes are also commonly used for carpets, fashion, and furniture.

All About the African Porcupine

The African porcupine is otherwise known as the crested porcupine.

The name literally means ‘quill pig’ in Latin, but these animals are not related to the pig in any way. Instead, they are the heaviest and largest African rodents, with a unique way to defend themselves.

What You Should Know

Porcupines live in northern and sub-Saharan Africa. They prefer the rocky and hilly country but will adapt to almost any environment. The only place they aren’t found is in the barren desert. Some have even been seen on Mt. Kilimanjaro over 11,000 feet above sea level.

The African porcupine sets up its home in a burrow. They will dig their own or take over a shelter built by other animals. Most often, the den is used for an entire family unit.

African crested porcupines prefer to eat cultivated root crops, fallen fruit, bulbs, bark, and tubers. They will stray from their vegetarian diet when the need arises. Most of the foraging occurs at night and while alone. They travel up to nine miles to find their food. During the day, they rest and prepare for another night of hunting. 

What Sound Do They Make?

African crested porcupines use sound as a defense mechanism. When an attack seems imminent, they shake their quills to create a rattling sound. It might also click its feet and stamp on the ground to appear more menacing.

Group Characteristics

The average female African porcupine has a litter each year after a 110 day gestation period. The female prefers to give birth in the burrow to one or two young. These babies each weigh around two pounds. After a week in the den, they will be ready to venture out. The spines begin to harden and they will wean by six to eight weeks old. By the age of two, they are mature.

How Many Are There?

The IUCN Red List labels the African porcupine as Least Concern with an unknown population. The biggest threat to its population is the human-wildlife contact. As more communities expand, the porcupine and human find themselves in close quarters. They become agricultural pests and are hunted to protect the crops. Humans smoke them out of the burrow and use dogs, nets or spears to kill them.

Sometimes, they are also targeted for their quills. These are considered an African good-luck charm and occasionally used as a musical instrument. Rarely, the porcupine is hunted purely for meat.

Pop Culture

It’s difficult to determine if the African porcupine has been specifically used in today’s media, but the porcupine, in general, has been. One of the well-known uses of this animal was as Ash in the hit children’s movie Sing. She starts as part of a band with her boyfriend but ends up going on her own to shock the competition.

Interesting Facts

The African porcupine’s head is round instead of domed. It has short legs and is equipped with claws. Quill length varies depending on where they are located on the animal’s body. They are usually between one to 12 inches long. They lay flat against the body, but rise when a danger exists. The tips are like fishhooks and challenging to pull out. If the porcupine loses a quill, it’s replaced by a new one.

An African porcupine attacks its enemies in reverse. If the threat doesn’t listen to its warnings, the porcupine runs backward to ram the attacker with the quills. Because the hindquarters of the animal have the most amount of quills, this provides the ideal level of protection. Plus, all of the quills are directed to the rear for maximum penetration.

All About the African Skink

The African skink is otherwise known as the fire skink or Togo fire skink.

It’s a large lizard species from the family Scincidae. This animal is commonly kept as a pet.

What You Should Know

The natural habitat of the African skink is in the West African tropical forests. They live among three different regions in the continent. True fire skinks have a slender and long face with neck patterning. This is the most known of the three. L. Fernandi Harlani come from central Africa. They have shorter snouts and broader heads. The Togo fire skink (L. Fernardi Hinkeli) supposedly has two of its own subspecies.

The skinks prefer to spend their time in burrows or other crevices among the dead trees. That’s where they find many of the insects they eat. In captivity, they eat locusts, crickets, roaches, and mealworms. 

What Sound Do They Make?

The African skink is a lizard unlike any other. While this species is docile and easy to get along with, it can reach a point of enough. The only sound that the skink might make is a hissing noise, which means to get away. This is a warning sign alerting those around to give the skink some room. 

Group Characteristics

The fire skink is oviparous. Breeding seasons last from April to May and the female will lay five to nine eggs after a mating session. Then, the eggs take an average of 45 days to hatch, as long as they remain incubated at temperatures around 85 degrees Fahrenheit.

How Many Are There?

The fire skink population is stable, but de-forestation does affect them. Natural predators to this lizard include herons, hawks, foxes, coatis, and raccoons. They have some adaptations that allow them to thrive in their environments. They run fast, have unique coloring schemes and shed their tail when captured.

Pop Culture

One of the most well-known places that skinks were used is in The Lion Guard. The character names include Shupavu, Njano, Nyeusi, Waza, and Nyata. In this show, skinks are the lizards that live in the Pride Lands and the Outlands. Aside from that, skinks are a popular subject in reptile magazine and pet-care guides. It’s common to find this species at reptile shows since it is in high demand for pet-owners.

Interesting Facts

When it comes to having a fire skink as a pet, most of the specimens are caught in the wild, but there are also some captive-bred options. Fire skinks require a large tank with horizontal space so they can climb. They also like to burrow, so it helps to have a loose substrate. Their environment must be humid and moist, like their home habitat. Live insects are used for captive skinks, just like if they were eating in the wild. Some keepers find that occasionally offering a small mouse is a nice treat.

Fire skinks can bite, but it doesn’t usually cause any problems. This lizard is non-poisonous. The majority of bites occur when attempting to capture the lizard. It’s also possible for them to fight when they get cornered or feel threatened. Even when it is a pet, it’s important not to grab onto the tail.

The life span of an African skink is seven to 20 years, depending on the environment. Skinks will reach eight to 18 inches long, depending on the species. The fire skink contains a mixture of silver, white, black and red scales. On its back, it has golden and red hues on the sides. Depending on the skink’s mood, these colors can dull or brighten.

While it’s possible to house more than one skink in a tank, it shouldn’t be two of the same gender.

All About the African Polecat

The African polecat might look like a North American skunk, but it is a completely different species.

Striped polecats are also known to locals as zorillas and have several defense mechanisms that help them to thrive.

What You Should Know

The Striped polecat lives within Africa throughout an extensive range. It’s located from the west coast to Somalia and Ethiopia. They are found up until the South African shore. They can be so widespread because they aren’t picky about their environment. All that desire is to find a steady food supply. That’s why they are found in grasslands, woodlands, savannas, forests, deserts, and some semi-mountainous areas.

The Striped polecat also eats a variety of animals. This includes insects, lizards, frogs, snakes, birds, rodents and eggs. Because it has a small stomach, it is forced to eat frequently. They use their clawed paws to dig in the earth for any nearby food to consume. Most of their hunting is done at night.

What Sound Do They Make?

Striped polecats communication to one another through calls and verbal signals. They’ve been heard growling, screaming and making softer calls. An African polecat is known for its high pitch scream used to keep predators away. If it wants to surrender to an enemy, it responds with a softer-pitch scream instead. Young polecats have their own set of signals and calls to express joy or sadness.

Group Characteristics

The African polecat is a solitary animal, except during mating season. The only other polecats it will associate with is its family, although the male doesn’t typically do that either. When two males meet up, it tends to be a hostile situation. One typically walks away with some sort of injury. Reproduction occurs before the African summer, usually during December through February. Most of the offspring is then born during the summer, allowing them the highest chance of survival. The female is pregnant for just four weeks and gives birth to a litter ranging from one to five babies.

How Many Are There?

The IUCN Red List has the African polecat (zorilla) as Least Concern with a stable population. The main threat includes natural predators. Domesticated dogs located in the agricultural areas regularly kill polecats. Cats and jackals are also common predators. While foraging, the striped polecat periodically changes direction. This looks like a game, but it’s meant to throw off potential predators. They are also able to defend themselves with a strong odor they spray from behind, just like the skunk. If need be, they will fend off a predator or attempt to distract them.

Other threats include the hunting and trapping of these polecats. Furthermore, they are subject to some diseases, which reduce the population even more.

Pop Culture

The Guinness Book of Animal Records records a time when the zorilla kept nine lions away while it was looking to eat its recent kill. All it did was use its power of smell to defend them. Aside from that, the African polecat is rarely discussed in popular culture. 

Interesting Facts

The African polecat looks remarkably similar to the skunk. It’s striped black and white and sometimes looks like it has some brown coloring. The underparts and legs are completely black along with its tiny face. They are much smaller than the skunk at just under three pounds and short stature.

The name zorilla comes from the Spanish word “zorro” which simply means fox.

African polecats mark their territory by spraying it, in the same way the skunk does. This keeps them protected from predators and they will also use their spray to ward them off directly.

Image courtesy of discoveranimals.org

All About the African Pied Wagtail

The African pied wagtail is otherwise known as the African wagtail.

It’s a species of bird that belongs in the Motacillidae family.

What You Should Know

The African pied wagtail is located in sub-Saharan Africa. It lives among the Eastern Cape from southern Egypt to Somalia and western Eritrea. It prefers to inhabit the tropical or subtropical seasonally wet and flooded rivers, lowland grassland or freshwater marshes. Sometimes, it lives among the towns and villages where humans also reside.

This bird is an insectivore. It feeds on aerial and ground invertebrates. In areas with houses, it will scour the rooftops and pavements to find easy-to-catch insects. It’s often seen looking in car radiator grilles for stuck bugs. When food is scarce during the fall and winter, the pied wagtails will go into gardens and feed on seeds. Humans also feed the birds with bread.

What Sound Do They Make?

The African pied wagtail makes numerous sounds while in flight or calling to others. It has a unique song that people find pleasant.

Group Characteristics

The African pied wagtails will typically begin breeding before the rainy season begins. Breeding continues after the rains come and they go on for up to six months. Peak breeding time takes place between March and October. While both the female and male birds build the nest, only the female incubates the eggs. Still, both of the parents will care for the young with the average birth around four chicks.

The African pied wagtail is a monogamous bird. Together, they build a cup-shaped nest that is lined with feathers and grass. It sits close to the water and is created with intricately tangled sticks or twigs. When the pied wagtail lives among human settlements, the nests are also found on buildings. Several birds parasite the nest including the red-chested cuckoo and Diederick cuckoo. They are also prone to become the prey of larger birds.

How Many Are There?

The IUCN Red List marks the African pied wagtail as a species of Least Concern with a stable population. Its main threats come from larger predators and human interaction. The more construction and building that occurs, the less habitat the African pied wagtail has. While they have come to adjust and live among humans, it still reduces the population slightly.

Pop Culture

The African pied wagtail isn’t a common bird found in movies or TV shows. Instead, it’s a bird that is often featured in documentaries and nature publications. It’s even featured in some prominent books such as Birds of Kenya and Northern Tanzania by Zimmerman et al. plus the Birds of East Africa by Stevenson and Fanshawe.

Interesting Facts

The African pied wagtail has a scientific binomial of Motacilla aguimp. The Motacilla is Latin for ‘little mover’ while aguimp means ‘with a wimple’ in French. A wimple is a historic garment once worn over the head and around a women’s neck . The African pied wagtail may offer the same appearance with its black features located around the head, on the neck, and around its sides. When properly translated, this bird means a little mover that wears a wimple, which seems appropriate.

There are 14 species of wagtail, with the African pied variety only being one. Some other varieties include the Western yellow wagtail, Eastern yellow wagtail, and Cape wagtail. At one time, other birds were classified in the Motacilla family. These included the Superb fairywren and Red-whiskered bulbul. Among the species most closely related to the African pied wagtail, the Mekong wagtail appears to be most similar. They are close relatives, looking alike with their black and white appearance.

All About Horses

The horse is a common animal kept in pastures and barns around the country.

This animal has a long-standing relationship with humans and was once the main form of transportation.

What You Should Know

Currently, there are more than 300 breeds of horses. They are available in many sizes, colors and contain numerous skills. The hot blood horse is known as a faster breed. It’s meant for racing and speed. The cold bloods are bred for heavy work and strength. Warmbloods combine the two and are used in riding competitions.

The horse is a grazing animal. It likes to eat grass and hay. They also consume beans, peas, carrots, and apples. Some owners feed the horse grains such as oats or corn.

What Sound Do They Make?

The horse is a vocal animal. It makes a variety of sounds to let others know what it is trying to say. Sighing often means relief or boredom. A groaning noise is an indication of pain. The soft sound made with the horse’s lips closed is called a nicker. This can be excitement or fear, depending on the situation. When the horse snorts or blows, it indicates deep anticipation. A horse’s traditional neighing sound occurs when it is happy and enjoying life.

Listen to some familiar horse sounds with this video.

Group Characteristics

The horse becomes mature between the ages of three and five years old, depending on the breed. A horse’s gestation period is 11 months. Most mares produce one foal each time, but twins and triplets do occur. This foal is weaned at six months old.

The horse’s life span depends on the care it receives and what it is used for. Most horses live to be at least 20 to 25 years old. Ponies will live longer than a large horse.

How Many are There?

There aren’t many wild horses left in the world. Some exceptions include the Przewalski’s Horses found in Mongolia and China. They’ve been classified as endangered. Other wild horses came from domesticated breeds. These are referred to as feral horses.

Watch a Video

Some horse breeds are more magnificent looking than others. Here is a video highlighting some of the most beautiful horses.

There’s also a compilation of funny horse videos that will make your day brighter.

Pop Culture

The list of horses in pop culture is endless. In literature, most people know about horse books such as Black Beauty, Flicka, The Black Stallion, and The Horse Whisperer. It’s also common to use horses in movies. Some memorable titles include The Legend of Sleepy Hollow, True Grit, Dances with Wolves and most any Western ever made. In television, horses are also found in western-set shows as well as The Lone Ranger, Heartland, and Parks and Recreation. Horses also gained a following thanks to toys such as My Little Pony and some Beanie Babies.

Interesting Facts

Horses sleep both lying down and standing up.

They have a great sense of hearing, sight, and balance.

The horse relies on four basic gaits while moving. This includes walking, trotting, cantering and galloping.

Horses were first domesticated by humans around 4000 B.C.

People with disabilities find horse riding to be therapeutic.

Horses have played a vital role in warfare throughout all of history. They are still used by several police forces in the country.

The horse hoof must be clipped. It never stops growing. A farrier is someone that specializes in taking care of the horse’s hooves and putting on new shoes.

The horse has larger eyes than any other mammal living on land.

A male horse is called a stallion, while a female horse is a mare. The young male is known as a colt while the young female is known as a filly.

All About Dinosaurs

Dinosaurs were part of a large group of reptiles that first appeared during the Triassic period.

While they’ve been extinct for many years, there’s still a lot to learn about these fascinating creatures. Scientists work hard at putting together the pieces of this mysterious creature.

What You Should Know

About a hundred million years ago, the dinosaur inhabited many areas of the world. They lived in dusty plains and dense forests. While they lived in plains, the grass had not yet evolved, so the ground was covered with prehistoric plants and ferns. In the wetland areas, dinosaurs ate primitive plants, otherwise known as horsetails. The riparian forest had vegetation and lush trees that grew along the marsh for dinosaurs.

With a desert habitat, the dinosaurs were forced to survive on very little. Three known dinosaurs to live in these extreme conditions included the Velociraptor, Oviraptor, and Protoceratops. In Polar regions, temperatures were warmer than they are today, making it easier for a variety of dinosaurs to live in that climate.

What Sound Do They Make?

Because we don’t have dinosaurs today, it’s difficult to know for sure what sounds they make. Some assumptions include bellows, moos, honks, roars, squeaks, snarls, grunts, hisses, snorts, and rumbles.

Here’s one thought of what it might have sounded like when dinosaurs roamed the earth.

Group Characteristics

Dinosaurs laid eggs that were made of calcium carbonate. This made the shell hard. Most eggs were put into a nest. It’s also believed that dinosaurs cared for the young just like modern animals and birds. Still, there’s a lot that’s left unknown.

How Many are There?

Dinosaurs no longer exist. They went extinct about 65 million years ago after inhabiting the earth for 165 million years. The theories as to what happened to the dinosaurs continue, but there’s no definitive proof to claim one opinion is better than another.

Watch a Video

In this iconic documentary, When Dinosaurs Roamed America, you get a glimpse of what life might have been like for these beasts. This video is narrated by John Goodman.

Another documentary shares what it might have been like on the last day alive for dinosaurs.

Pop Culture

The list of movies and TV that feature dinosaurs is nearly endless. The animal is commonly used because of the world’s fascination with creatures that no longer exist. Some of the most popular titles include:

· The Flintstones

· Godzilla

· Ice Age movies

· Jurassic Park movies

· Land Before Time franchise

· The Lego Batman Movie

· Lego Movie 2

· Meet the Robinsons

· Night at the Museum movies

· Toy Story movies

Interesting Facts

Dinosaur means “Terrifying Lizard.” The name was invented in 1842 by Sir Richard Owen.

The oldest dinosaur that is known lived 228 million years ago. It was the Eoraptor.

Paleontologists believe that modern birds are surviving dinosaurs. If this is true, then dinosaurs aren’t truly extinct, but rather, living among us at all times.

The largest dinosaurs might have been longer than 100 feet and taller than 50 feet.

Some dinosaur species ate meat, while others only ate plants. Some walked on four legs, while others walked on two. The differences in appearance, habitat, and characteristics between the varying types of dinosaurs are endless.

Scientists believe there were more than 330 species of dinosaur, but the number continues to grow.

While it’s possible to replicate what the dinosaur structure looked like due to the bones found, we don’t know what color these animals were. There’s no way to document that information in the modern world. Everything shown on TV and in the media is purely speculation.

All About the Crocodile

Many people don’t know the difference between a crocodile and alligator because of their similarities.

The biggest difference is the jaw shape, but also the habitat they live in.

What You Should Know

Crocodiles are considered a reptile. They live in tropical areas of Asia, Africa, Australia, and the Americas. Other members of the Crocodilia family include alligators, gharials, and caimans.

In total, there are 13 crocodile species. The smallest of these is the dwarf crocodile measuring just 5.6 feet long and weighing 15 pounds. The largest crocodile is the saltwater crocodile. It measures up to 10 feet long and can weigh up to 2,000 pounds.

The crocodile is a carnivore. That means they only eat meat. In the wild, you will catch them hunting frogs, birds, crustaceans, and fish. In captivity, they eat small animals that have been caught for them, such as mice, fish, and rats.

What Sound Do They Make?

The crocodile makes a variety of sounds from a distress call to courtship bellows. Some species have over twenty messages they make with vocal sounds. It’s even been recorded with the Nile crocodile that babies will call out while still in the egg.

You can hear some of the sounds while looking at some crocodile pictures.

Group Characteristics

The female crocodile lays between ten and 60 eggs at one time. Her hatchlings remain in the eggs for 55 to 110 days. When they are born, they measure about seven to ten inches long. Depending on the species, the crocodile won’t mature until it hits four to 15 years old. Some species can live to be 30 years old, while others have been recorded to reach 75 years old.

How Many are There?

Some species are more at risk than others. For example, the Cuban crocodile is one of the most endangered of all the species. It’s labeled as critically endangered and currently has a population of about 4,000. The American crocodile is listed as vulnerable, but the population has been on the rise recently.

The crocodile was once hunted for its hides. This illegal killing, along with human development and roadkill, has been some of the greatest threats to both crocodiles and alligators. As the sea level continues risking because of climate change, freshwater habitats face an invasion of saltwater, which also harms the population.

Watch a Video

You can always learn a lot from a Steve Irwin video. This one features the Australian crocodile.

You can also view a BBC film highlighting what happens when a crocodile attacks the wildebeest.

Pop Culture

In modern movies and TV, the crocodile is often used to scare people. That’s what makes it a common choice for horror films. Some of the most popular of recent years include Rogue, Lake Placid, Croc, Dinocroc, and Supercroc.

Aside from that, the crocodile is used as a mascot for teams and businesses. Some examples include the Canton Crocodiles and Crocs, the shoe company.

Crocodiles have also found their way into comics. One of the most popular is Killer Croc, the Batman supervillain.

Interesting Facts

The biggest difference between an alligator and crocodile is the jaw shape. An alligator features a U–shape, but the crocodile has a V. The crocodile also has teeth that stick out over the upper lip when they close their mouths.

When the crocodile loses a tooth, it is replaced. They will go through 8,000 teeth during their life.

The term crying crocodile tears refers to someone that doesn’t truly feel remorseful. The saying started in the 16th century, but crocodiles do produce tears. They aren’t noticeable until the croc has been out of the water long enough to be completely dry.