Crocodiles are one of the most feared animals in the world, known for their aggressive nature and a huge set of teeth. These large reptiles once lived among the dinosaurs and have managed to survive till now. Here are some interesting facts you may not have known about these great beasts.

Crocodiles Do Cry

Have you ever heard of the phrase “crocodile tears”? This quote is actually derived from the fact that when crocodiles eat, they swallow so much air it causes the tear glands to force out real croc tears. The crocodiles aren’t actually upset and this is where the term comes from, as crocodile tears refer to insincere and false displays of emotion. There are even ancient tales in which people believed they were shedding tears for the humans they were consuming, famously heard in many of author and playwright William Shakespeare’s plays. This is a cool fact to bring out next time someone uses this well-known phrase.

They Don’t Chew Their Food

Although they have plenty of powerful teeth and one of the strongest bite forces of any animal in the animal kingdom, these are used to tear their food apart rather than chew it. Most crocs actually ingest stones, which many experts believe both helps to balance their large disproportionate bodies and crushes food in their stomach. Other animals do similar things, such as many birds in the wild who swallow grit to help break down their food. Something to think about next time you eat too much?

They Can Sleep with One Eye Open

A new study into crocodile sleeping habits found that crocodiles do occasionally sleep with one eye open to look for possible dangers whilst asleep. This is known as unihemispheric sleep and happens when one half of the brain sleeps whilst the other half stays awake. More research is needed to understand the true nature of the crocs while they sleep, but getting them to wear electrodes to measure their brain waves may not be something they’d accept easily.

Crocodiles Are Bullet Proof

If you shoot a crocodile in the back, you won’t get very far and you will waste your bullets. The skin on the back of a croc is made up of boney structures known osteoderms. This is very powerful stuff, enough to stop a bullet from penetrating. Skin elsewhere, such as on the underside of the crocodile is actually very soft and is not bulletproof. A good thing to remember if you ever stumble upon a croc in the wild!

Crocodiles are pretty interesting animals and have clever ways of tracking and hunting their prey; despite their small legs, they can’t do much chasing. Although they are often seen in movies as fearsome characters, as long as you keep your distance they will keep theirs. They only attack when prey moves into their circle and they tend to be nocturnal. Next time crocs come up in conversation, impress your friends with your new knowledge of these famous reptiles.

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