CrocodileBunker

Episode 58 – Nile Crocodile: The Tunneling Tank

“…And today we are talking about the most amazing animal that comes second place in two categories and first place in one!”

When your big and cold blooded, maintaining the right temperature can be a challenge, especially when you live on a continent that sees a wide range of temperatures. But for one primordial reptile in whom the will to survive runs deep, adaptation takes on a whole new meaning in Life, Death, and Taxonomy.

Measure Up

Length – 3.5 and 5 m (11.5 and 16.4 ft) though crocs grow until they die so some old aged crocs can be over 20 feet. – 14 feet – How many Nile Crocodiles go into the height of Khufu’s Horizon, also known as the Great Pyramid of Giza 138.8 metres (455 ft)? Hint: The Pyramid of Khufu is the largest pyramid in the world but it may not look like it. The Pyramid of Khafre, the one in the center of the three pyramids of giza, sits next to it on higher elevation, making it seem taller. Khufu is also 26 feet shorter than its original height. Answer: 32.5 crocs

Weight – 225 to 750 kg (500 to 1,650 lb) – 1075 lbs – How many crocodiles go into the approximate weight of Khufu’s Horizon? (5,216,308,000 kilograms (5,750,000 tons)) Hint: the average weight of the blocks used to construct the pyramid is 2.5 tons. Answer: 10,697,674 crocs

Major Fact

Nile crocodiles are among the deepest diggers in the animal kingdom.

A wide variety of animals dig holes, by very few bother to go extremely deep. The farther you get underground, the harder it is for oxygen to reach that far, like we learned with the naked mole rat. Animals that live underground typically stay close to surface level so they can hunt, forage, and breath fresh air. Some animals go deep for reasons that go beyond neat subterranean housing.

Crocodiles dig holes to lay their eggs, unlike other crocodiles and alligators which make nests in nasty vegetation.

Nesting holes are usually a few meters from the bank of a body of water. About 20 inches deep. She’ll lay between 20 and 80 eggs. But 20 inches in the ground isn’t much to have a major fact about.

Crocodiles dig holes for another reason.

As large cold blooded animals, heat regulation is incredibly important to them. They spend a good portion of their time basking in the sun, not moving at all.  In fact, they can sit on the bank, awake from nine to five like remaining completely still is their job. If it’s cold or overcast, they will keep their mouths closed it keep in heat. If it’s hot, especially around noon, they will open their mouths to ventilate heat and cool down. Despite this sedentary lifestyle, they remain awake and alert to their surrounding.

But what about when it gets really cold or really hot?

If a cold snap rolls in, it can mean the end of a croc unless they dig deep to survive, literally. Crocodiles will dig very deep holes and engage in yet another form of hibernation called Aestivation. Aestivation is a state of inactivity and low metabolic activity.  In other words, the croc goes into hypersleep. Their hearts beat twice per minute.

Young, small crocs will spend the hot summer months in holes a little more than 5 feet deep, some can get as low as 12 feet. They will spend the summer in aestivation, not leaving until conditions improve. On the high end, holes can be as deep as 39 feet or 12 meters, according to a LiveScience articleLarger crocs will go into aestivation btu come up once a day to bask in the sun before going back down. This survival method can also be used to make it through droughts.

Outro

Joe: You’ve heard of the death roll, but have you heard of the death scroll? No, it’s not an ancient Egyptian manuscript that foretells a time of destruction and pestilence. It’s when you listen to an episode of LDT and keep scrolling without hitting the subscribe button! Get new interesting animal info in your inbox every week. Isn’t that right, Carlos?

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