Crocodiles are not the kind of animals to take lightly. Slow as they are, you should avoid getting close to them. It’s not just the large mouth, powerful jaws, and sharp teeth, but the tail is just as lethal as the crocodile’s head.
With one of the most powerful jaws on earth, the crocodile’s bite force measured 3,700 pounds per square inch. Even the hyena with its notorious jaws couldn’t muster more than 1100 pounds. Humans have frail jaws that can tear into a piece of meat with just 150 pounds. If that shows anything, it’s that the crocodile bite is a force to be reckoned with.
But if the jaws of the crocodile didn’t scare you off, you should consider its scaly skin and that mighty tail. All in all, a crocodile in the wild is bad news no matter how you look at it. But today we’ll focus on its jaws, teeth, and its legendary bite.
Can a Crocodile Bite Through Steel?
There’s a lot that goes into the bite. It’s not just the size of the teeth or how large the jaw or mouth is. The size of the animal also influences its bite force. So a young crocodile will not have the same bite force as an adult and so on.
But does that mean that an adult crocodile will bite through steel? Not really. No matter how powerful the crocodile’s teeth are, they cannot bite through steel. Otherwise, it would be hard to transport the animal. While it can pulverize bones and flesh, the crocodile cannot cut through steel.
Why Do Crocodiles Have Such a Strong Bite?
A croc’s bite is the outcome of a few factors. The size of the animals is probably the decisive factor here. The larger the animal, the more powerful the bite. If you notice, the lithe and slender body of the croc is packed with muscles. When the animal clamps its jaws on something, it uses every muscle in its body to make that bite count.
Once the croc’s jaws clamp shut, he starts to wriggle his body to the left and right to wrench a big chunk of flesh out of the prey. This twisting is just as lethal as the bite itself. As the tail strikes from left to right, the mouth pulls out pieces of the prey.
What Type of Teeth Does a Crocodile Have?
While the crocodile has similar teeth types like most other carnivores, those teeth are very much different in shape and functionality. A crocodile usually has about 80 teeth that fall under the molars, incisors, and canine teeth. However, most of these teeth are canonical which makes them tougher to lose and more lethal when they bite.
In fact, the croc can easily replace any of its teeth at any time of its life. This is different from other animals in that once they lose their baby teeth, they can’t replace any missing teeth. So keep that in mind the next time you see a crocodile with missing some teeth. They will grow back quickly.
How Many Teeth Does a Crocodile Have?
The adult crocodile has about 80 teeth in its mouth. As we said, it doesn’t matter if they are baby teeth or adult teeth, the crocodile can replace them. This is not just a one time off thing either. Scientists estimate that the crocodile can replace the same tooth over 50 times.
This is an evolutionary trick that has helped these animals survive for millions of years. Just think about it, if the crocodile lost its teeth it won’t be able to catch its prey and will die. Since its teeth are its most potent weapon, it needs to replace them.
Can Crocodiles Regrow Teeth?
The short answer is yes. Not just once, but over 50 times for each tooth. This is an incredible quality that no other species has been able to replicate. It’s the secret behind the enduring survival of the crocodiles.
Most animals can only replace their baby teeth. Once they have their adult teeth, then that’s all the teeth they will get for the rest of their lives. But not the crocodiles. They are an evolutionary wonder of nature.
How Does a Crocodile Jaw Work?
But if regenerating new teeth at any time is a miracle of nature, you should see how the crocodile jaw works. For one thing, the back of the jaw is so flexible, the crocodile can open its mouth wide and maintain that position for long periods of time.
This ability allows the animal to clamp its magnificent jaws around any prey no matter how large. From a full grown zebra to a mature wildebeest or water buffalo. The crocodile has the ability to open its jaws wide and attack a prey many times its size.
Do Birds Really Clean Crocodile Teeth?
There are many myths about the life of the crocodile and its behavior. But this is not a myth. It’s true, some birds have created symbiotic relationships with the crocodiles. So what does each one get out of it?
Well, the birds get an easy meal for sure. As the crocodile basks in the sun with its huge jaws wide open, the birds go about the teeth meticulously removing every morsel of meat they find there. Sometimes they also remove fractured bones lodged between the teeth.
Naturally, this cleans the crocodile’s teeth better than a visit to the dentist. The leftovers could rot and ruin the crocodile teeth. But after this cleanup, they can go back to hunting more prey and enjoy strong and healthy teeth. Not to mention no gum diseases either.
Are Crocodiles Bulletproof?
Now that’s a myth. No animal has managed to develop a bulletproof skin. And why would they need to? Bullets are a human invention and animals didn’t have to deal with it for thousands of years. However, the thick and scaly skin of the crocodile acts as armor as well.
Whether a bullet will bounce off that skin depends on the angle of the weapon. There’s a chance it could break a scale without penetrating the animal’s body. But that’s rare. Crocodiles die of bullets just like anything else.
How Long Can a Crocodile Not Eat for?
That depends. Because of the sporadic nature of their hunting and feeding habits, a crocodile could go for weeks without food. During that time, the reptile will lie in the water motionless as it waits for its next meal. This helps conserve its energy as it won’t have to waste calories moving around.
But once it finds a prey, it will devour big chunks of meat in one gulp. It won’t even stop to chew. Speed is important because usually there’s competition over the food. The reptile will keep eating until there’s no more food left. That’s how it stores fat for the lean days between meals.
How Fast Can a Crocodile Run?
Despite its short legs and large body, crocodiles are surprisingly fast animals. Not just in the water where they are expert swimmers, but also on land. On average the adult crocodile can run at speeds of 22 miles an hour. That’s amazing for an animal that has to drag its hefty frame over such short legs.
How Fast Can a Crocodile Swim?
Surprisingly, the crocodile doesn’t match its land speed in the water. Its maximum speed in the water is 20 miles per hour. Why is that? Well, for one thing, the reptile doesn’t chase prey in the water. It doesn’t go after fish, but land animals that have to cross a body of water or come to drink. And they’re usually slow. So the croc doesn’t need high speed in the water to catch an animal.
Do Crocodiles Hunt Alone?
Yes for the most part. They don’t live in packs like wolves. Even if more than one crocodile shares the same lake or waterway, they try to stay away from each other as much as possible. It’s a competitive life that they lead. And they don’t need teamwork to catch prey. However, sometimes a water buffalo puts up too much of a fight and you’ll see other reptiles joining in to bring it down.
Do Crocodiles Nurse Their Young?
Yes, crocodile moms have very strong maternal instincts and they’ll go to great lengths to protect their offspring. First, the mom will build a nest for the younglings and watch over them. It has to do that to improve their chances of survival. Young crocodiles are too weak and defenseless to make it on their own. So the mother has to protect them and sometimes she will carry them in her mouth.
Do Male Crocodiles Protect Their Young?
This is usually the mother crocodile’s job. She’s the one who protects and looks after the offspring. And by protecting I mean she will fight off any intruder including the male crocodile as well. Once the male mates with the female, their role in bringing up the family is over. The mother takes over from there.