Mike Unwin
United Kingdom UK

Mike is an award winning wildlife writer, editor of Travel Zambia magazine and author of the Bradt Guide to Southern African Wildlife.

Category: African Wildlife

Nile crocodile (Crocodilus niloticus)

The Nile crocodile is a massive reptile and probably the most feared predator in Africa. And with good reason. It is one of the very few animals for which human beings regularly feature on the menu.

5 Fascinating Facts About the Nile Crocodile

  1. Crocodiles have the strongest bite in the animal kingdom. And the Nile crocodile is no different. It's bite can exert a force eight times more powerful than that of a great white shark and 15 times more than a Rottweiler’s. Powerful muscles for closing the jaws, however, contrast with small, weak ones for opening them.
  2. Female crocodiles exhibit impressive maternal care. They use their massive jaws to transport newly hatched young to a ‘nursery pool’ where they guard them from predators.
  3. The sex of crocodile hatchlings is determined by the temperature at which the eggs incubate. At 30ºC or less they will be mostly female; at 31ºC they will be mixed; and at 32ºC, they will be mostly male.
  4. Crocodiles are the most vocal of reptiles. Among more than five different calls are the deep, vibrating bellow of courting males and the ‘peeping’ of babies inside the egg. This 'peeping' encourages the female to excavate the nest.
  5. Large crocodiles swallow stones, known as gastroliths. These act as ballast, helping them to balance their body underwater.

Explore Africa on the Water

An interesting way to wildlife watch is by water safari. You can book a canoe safari or luxury boat safari. Just make sure to keep your distance away from the crocodiles! For information on some of the most interesting and exotic African wildlife - as well as The Big Five - subscribe to the SafariBookings blog. Our safari experts regularly post blogs about some of their most interesting wildlife encounters. And their photographs are nothing short of spectacular!

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