Feeding ecology and diet

Crocodiles are opportunistic feeders and their diet includes a huge range of both invertebrates and vertebrates. The young are agile and will jump to catch dragonflies and flying termites. The bulk of their diet is insects and spiders. As the young grow, they prey on crabs, fish, frogs, reptiles, birds, and mammals. Crocodiles are active hunters that stalk prey both above and below water. Most species eat carrion, even leaving the safety of the water to feed on a carcass. All species have teeth and jaws designed for seizing, tearing, and crushing rather than chewing. Some species, like the Malayan ghar-ial, Johnstone's crocodile (Crocodylus johnstonii), and African slender-snouted crocodile (Crocodylus cataphractus) have narrow jaws and very sharp teeth specially adapted to catch fish. Sensory pores in and around the mouth help crocodiles find prey under water. Several species of crocodiles have been seen to herd fish to shore with their bodies, sometimes communally. Crocodiles play a vital role at the apex (top) of the aquatic food chain. They control predators on commercially important fishes and keep the habitat clean as part-time scavengers.

Was this article helpful?

0 0

Post a comment