The Online Library of Knowledge

LET'S EXPLORE The animal kingdom

How do crocodiles live?

American alligatorAmerican alligatorCrocodiles and alligators are powerful predators. They will attack and eat other large animals—including humans. All these fierce reptiles have long, scaly bodies with thick, bony plates on their backs. They live close by rivers, lakes and estuaries in tropical regions in many parts of the world. Their eyes, ears and nostrils are on the tops of their heads so that they can lie in wait almost completely under the water—out of sight from their unwitting prey.

A female crocodile digs a pit for her eggs.A female crocodile digs a pit for her eggs.


Crocodiles are protective of their young. The female lays her eggs in a pit near the water’s edge and covers them over. She guards them from predators.

Young crocodiles hatch.Young crocodiles hatch.
After about three months, the hatchlings call out to her from inside the eggs. After they hatch, she carries her young inside her mouth to a safe “nursery area”. Here she looks after them for up to six months. Young crocodiles eat crabs or frogs. Older ones feed on fish or animals that already been killed.

The mother releases her young into the river.The mother releases her young into the river.

To tell an alligator from a crocodile, look at its teeth. An alligator’s are not visible when its mouth is closed; a crocodile’s fourth tooth can still be seen.

© 2020 Q-files Ltd. All rights reserved. Switch to Mobile