Crocodilians | Crocodilia
Crocodilia is an order of large, semiaquatic, carnivorous, solitary reptiles that first appeared 95 million years ago. Crocodilia, surprisingly, are most closely related to birds, as these two are the only two remaining survivors from the Archosauria age. Crocodilia have members such as crocodiles, alligators, caimans, and gharial. Crocodilia are characterized by their strong bite, stout legs, long snouts with cone-shaped teeth, and thick scales. Crocodilia are found in Southeastern North America, Africa, and Asia. Crocodilia do not chew their prey, but they will clamp down, crush it, and swallow it whole.
Alligators don’t run long distances, but can travel quickly while they are in water. Typically, they are slower on land, but alligators are able to run at short bursts of speed that can exceed more than 30 miles per hour.
Crocodiles can live for a long time, some reaching the age of 100 years. All species of crocodile have a lifespan of about 30 to 40 years, and larger species can live between 60 to 70 years. Most methods of measuring the age of a crocodile are unreliable, but one common method is measuring growth rings in the bones and teeth.
Alligators typically mate in June and attract each other with vocalizations, infrasonic vibrations, and pressing on their snouts and backs. The female alligator builds her nest and lays typically 20 to 50 eggs, and covers them with dirt and leaves. The mother stays near then nest until the eggs hatch.