How have crocodiles survived for so long?

Listed as one of the scariest creatures in Australia, the Saltwater crocodile is the at the top of the food chain and has been there for millions of years. They are the biggest reptiles in the entire world, stretching out 5 to 7 metres on average. The Crocs roam within Australia’s tropical wetlands, using rivers, lakes, and even the ocean shores as they are hunting grounds.

Crocodiles are ancient creatures, first appearing over 240 million years ago during the Mesozoic Era, with their neighbours being the famous dinosaurs. But how did these crocodiles survive the chaos of the K/T Extinction?

Crocodiles were exceptionally well-adapted

The dinosaurs came in all shapes and sizes, ranging from a tiny bird size chickens to an enormous elephant legged beasts. In contrast, crocodiles have stuck with a similar body for the last 200 million years, going under the motto ‘if it’s not broken, don’t fix it’. This may have given them an advantage, with their short legs and low-slung posture may have allowed them to literally ‘keep their heads down’ during the disaster.

Crocodiles are cold-blooded

After studying the dinosaurs for hundreds of years, scientists have discovered that a large majority of them were warm-blooded. This meant they had to constantly eat to fuel their metabolisms while absorbing heat slowly from their sheer mass to maintain a steady temperature. Neither of these factors was efficient during the cold and dark conditions following the Yucatan meteor impact. Crocodiles have cold-blooded metabolisms, which means they were able to live for long periods of time in severe darkness, cold, and with very little food.

They live near the water

During the end of the Cretaceous period, massive beasts roamed the ocean waters, with sharks ten times the size of the great white, and even carnivores larger than blue whales. However, the extinction wiped out these sea-dwelling mosasaurs, much the same as their land-dwelling neighbours. However, for some reason, freshwater rivers and lakes were less impacted by the meteor. This helped the Crocodiles survive, as their amphibious lifestyle let them roam the rivers to escape the land and sea disasters.

They were smarter

Although all these reasons are all theories, this is probably the most controversial hypothesis. They are said to be as smart as cats or dogs; able to use tools in circumstances, be incredibly sneaky, and recognise familiar humans at times. However, it is also said that a large number of dinosaurs were incredibly smart and look what happened to them!

See these crocs in person on our Jumping Crocodile Cruise from Darwin today!

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