Sometimes flippers can come in very handy – and not just for swimming. This snorkeler managed to fend off an inquisitive croc with their flipper and had a lucky escape. In the clip below, we get to see a crocodile swimming in the ocean but which species of this reptile like to live in saltwater?
Can Crocodiles Live In Saltwater?
Yes, there are species of crocodile that are very tolerant of saltwater and one is the aptly named saltwater crocodile (Crocodylus porosus) also called salties or estuarine crocodiles. These guys have been spotted swimming far out to see. However, there are also reports of the American crocodile sauntering across a beach and into the waves at Palancar Beach on the Mexican island of Cozumel. Actually, several crocodile species can survive in brackish habitats but these two are certainly the most comfortable.
Their seafaring habits have landed them in the most unusual places and some seem to have traveled vast distances! One has even been found 1,200 miles from the nearest known population! These guys have been caught feeding on sea turtles and even covered in barnacles.
How Do Crocs Survive in a Saline Environment?
Living in saltwater requires some special adaptions and estuarine crocodiles are known to survive in salt concentrations of up to 60 percent. Firstly, these crocs can survive a long time without drinking freshwater which is in short supply out at sea! They get their hydration from the animals that they eat. They are also hardier than some other croc species.
The most important adaption, however, are salt glands. These are a special organ for excreting excess salt from the body. It is found in some fish, seabirds and reptiles including the crocodiles described here.
The challenge that these crocs have is preventing a buildup of the molecules that make up salt in their bodies. These are called sodium and chloride ions. In crocodiles, the salt-excreting glands are located on the tongue immediately below the lingual epithelium so they are called lingual salt glands. This particular type of gland is unique to crocodilians. So, it’s not just sharks that you need to be aware of when snorkeling in the sea!
Watch the Incredible Footage Below
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