Wildlife TV

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How do baby Nile Crocodiles survive?

on July 26, 2013

Previously we’ve seen how the tallest and gracious giraffe babies are able to survive in the wild; today we are going to discuss the survival techniques of another famous African animal, the heaviest reptile in Africa, the scary nile crocodile.

 

Nile Crocodile hatchlings

The nile crocodile (Crocodylus niloticus) is the largest reptile in Africa and the second largest in the world, with the saltwater crocodile (Crocodylus porosus) in Southeast Asia being the biggest one around.

Among reptiles, the members of the Crocodylia order (crocodiles, alligators, caimans and gharials) are the only ones that offer parental care to both eggs and hatchlings and they have been doing this successfully for millions of years.

These amazing carnivores have been around since the time of the dinosaurs and seem to be planning on staying for a lot longer as, just like the giraffes, they are marked as “least concern” on the Red List.

Unlike most reptiles, nile crocodiles’ males and females often co-exist peacefully in the same water source and there are even cases of cooperative hunting observed in wild groups.

Because of the adults’ willingness to live and work together, hatchlings can profit from having an extra protection that other reptile species would certainly like to benefit from. Once the eggs are laid, they are immediately buried in the sand and ferociously guarded by the female for the three months that takes them to incubate.

 

Female nile crocodile (Crocodylus niloticus) protects her eggs.

Female nile crocodile (Crocodylus niloticus) protects her eggs from predators.
Photo Credit

Parents protecting their eggs is not that uncommon in nature, however, reptiles protecting their newborn babies after they are out of the eggs is quite unusual and this is what sets nile crocodile parents apart from most other reptile species.

Just before getting out of the eggs, crocodile hatchlings start making a high pitched noise that serves as an indicator for the mother to dig them all out. The mother will then pick up each baby crocodile and carry it in her mouth to the water where they will start trying to catch their first prey. But her job does not stop there. Any baby is small and vulnerable and not even crocodiles are the exception. Adult crocodiles will eat them if they get the chance but as long as they keep close to the mother for the first months she will do her best to help their survival, however, despite all of this, only close to 1% of nile crocodiles that are born will reach maturity.

 

Newly hatched nile crocodile (Crocodylus niloticus) is gently carried in the mother's jaws.

Newly hatched nile crocodile (Crocodylus niloticus) is gently carried in the mother’s jaws.
Photo Credit

 

As you can see, sometimes, even despite all the efforts from the parents, the majority of the young that are born of certain species will perish but nature finds a way to keep a balance. Both the nile crocodile and the giraffe face high infant mortality rates but none of them is facing extinct in the near future, in fact, they both seem to be here to stay!

 

I hope you liked learning about the amazing world of baby nile crocodiles
Do you want to find out how other baby animals survive?
Check out our “Series” page for the list of “Baby Animals: How do they survive?

 

Até à próxima!
~Sofia.

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One response to “How do baby Nile Crocodiles survive?

  1. Catie says:

    Thanks for the information

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