What do you call a group of crocodiles? Trouble! Just kidding!
A group of crocodiles on land is called a “bask” and a group of crocodiles in water is called a “float.”
A bask can have 20 or more crocodiles together. You might find a large group of crocodiles lying in the sun, absorbing its warmth. One fun fact is that although alligators and crocodiles are very similar, a group of alligators is called a “congregation.” Let’s find out why crocodiles live in groups.
Why Do Crocodiles Live In Groups?
Crocodiles live in groups to;
- take turns hunting and resting,
- cooperatively hunt together, and
- keep the babies and young crocodiles safe.
Do Crocodiles Take Turns Hunting And Resting?
A researcher, Chip Campbell, studied alligators in the Okefenokee National Wildlife Refuge and observed a group of 60 alligators with ½ to 1/3 resting while the others worked together to get fish. The fishing group would swim in a semi-circle to herd the fish closer to shore, where other gators would snatch one for lunch and then swim over to the resting gators and settle in. Once one joined the resting group, a different one from the resting group would slide into the water to join the fishers. This was a group of alligators, but crocodiles have exhibited similar behaviors.
Do Crocodiles Hunt Together?
You probably know that a pack of wolves can work together to hunt down prey. Did you know killer whales do the same? Killer whales have been shown to circle a seal on an ice float and work together to create waves to knock it off into the water! Research shows crocodiles hunt together as well. A scientific study of crocodiles from 2014 showed that they coordinate and collaborate to hunt prey.
An example of this was from Dr. Vladimir Dinets of the University of Tennessee in Knoxville. He reported that a saltwater crocodile scared a pig toward a nearby lagoon where two more crocodiles were waiting. That is cooperation!
How Long Do Babies Stay With Their Mother For Protection?
Mother crocodiles lay their eggs in one big nest and guard it for a few months while the babies grow. Dwarf crocodiles lay around ten eggs, whereas Nile crocodiles can lay between 25-80 eggs at one time. The mother crocodiles assist the babies during hatching and often carry them in their mouths to the closest water. They are very protective, and the babies live in the bask with the others. The hatchlings learn to stay very close to their mother with their pod for the first few months and then venture out a bit but remain with the same bask for a few years. The males will then leave to find a new bask to live in.
How Many Crocodiles Live In A Group?
This varies, but a size of 20 is common. For most species, it is a mix of males and females and their young. Nile crocodiles are more territorial, and therefore their groups are typically one dominant male with several females and their young.
Do Crocodiles Mate For Life?
One study out of the Rockefeller Wildlife Refuge in Louisiana found that alligators (not crocodiles) were more monogamous than thought. This was found in a 10-year study. 70% of the females returned to the same male year after year. However, the study had a sample size of 10 females, so more research needs to be done.
Another study looked at the babies of the Morelet’s crocodile in Belize. These are medium-sized crocodiles that average 9 feet long and have broader snouts, looking more like alligators. They examined 188 babies from 10 different nests to see if they all had the same father. The results? The DNA testing revealed “evidence that progeny from five of the ten nests were sired by at least two males.” It looks like crocodiles do not mate for life like swans, wolves, and gibbons do. There is certainly room for more research.
Do Crocodiles Always Get Along?
Some crocodiles are more territorial and aggressive than others. The Nile crocodile and the saltwater crocodile are the largest and most aggressive. According to crocodile specialist Adam Britton, crocodiles can fight each other during the mating season and reestablish territories. Not only will they attack, but they will finish them off and have them for dinner. Cannibalism occurs with some crocs, but it is typically larger males eating smaller ones during mating season. That’s one way to eliminate the competition!
Where Do Groups Of Crocodiles Live?
There are several species of crocodiles, including the American crocodile, Nile crocodile, and saltwater crocodile. Most crocodiles are located in Africa, Asia, and Northern Australia. The American crocodile is found in Central America and the northern part of South America. The only place in the United States where you will find crocodiles is in the southern tip of Florida. This is also the only place in the world where you can find crocodiles and alligators coexisting together!
What Is The Largest Group Of Crocodiles?
150,000 crocodiles! In some countries, crocodiles are valued for their skin to make leather products like handbags and suits. They are also believed to have medicinal properties with their blood and bile sold as medicine. Because of this, some countries raise large numbers of crocodiles on crocodile farms. Thailand has more than 1,000 crocodile farms. There are an estimated 1.2 million crocodiles farmed in the country. One of the largest farms is the Sri Ayuthaya Crocodile Farm. The farm has 150,000 crocodiles. The controversial part about crocodile farming is that they are frequently kept in very large groups, much larger than 20-crocodile social groups, and confined to cement pens.
In the United States, there are no crocodile farms because the American crocodile is considered a threatened species, but there are alligator farms. It is legal to have alligator farms in Louisiana, Georgia, and Florida.
The largest group of crocodiles in the wild is in Central Africa, where you will find the most Nile crocodiles.
The photo featured at the top of this post is © Dewet / Creative Commons / Original
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