Did you know that these alpha mortals have been on Earth for over 200 million years? Humans believe crocodiles are immortal and some super creatures.
So is it true that crocodiles don’t age? Aging is inevitable, and we watch ourselves, pets, parents, and other non-living things like cars aging.
However, the crocodile has challenged this belief because of their negligible senescence. The saltwater crocodile is the most popular species when it comes to agelessness. It doesn’t have a recognized life span limit.
The article has all the information about the crocodile’s life and begins by answering the question.
Can Crocodiles Die Of Old Age?
No, crocodiles don’t show signs of wearing down because of age. Instead, these animals continue growing bigger year by year. It doesn’t mean they are immortal since crocodiles often die of other causes such as stress in captivity.
Some researches and studies suggest that crocodiles can survive extreme oxygen deprivation.
Crocodiles aren’t immortal; however, their lifespan isn’t also clear. The average lifespan of crocodiles in the wild is approximately 70-100 years.
Like humans and other animals’ crocodiles lose teeth and muscle tone, and females produce fewer eggs as they age.
Crocodiles that have been well kept in zoos eventually die after exhibiting exceedingly long lives.
Because of their long lives, most crocodiles die of other causes than age-related issues. All in all, the crocodiles are biologically immortal.
Senescence And Negligible Senescence
Senescence is a biological term that means gradual body deterioration with age. However, the complexity of the word shouldn’t scare you because it’s just what people refer to as aging.
As humans and animals age, they experience low mobility, weakening of muscles, age-related diseases, etc.
Therefore, they become more susceptible to death. Negligible senescence means not showing any aging signs, and the crocodile is the best example.
In simpler terms, a crocodile is biologically immortal and mostly dies due to other causes like predators, etc.
Here Are Some Reasons That May lead To A Crocodiles’ Death
Poaching and Hunting
It’s one of the most popular factors that contribute to crocodile deaths. In most countries, crocodile hunting is illegal, but in other parts, it’s not. People illegally poach crocodiles for their teeth and skin.
Illness and Diseases
You’ll be amazed to learn how highly sensitive crocodiles are to stress. High-stress levels make crocodiles weak that they can’t fight illnesses and diseases. Some crocodile-specific conditions include adenoviral hepatitis, crocodile pox, coccidiosis, etc.
These illnesses do spread through stagnant waters like reservoirs and ponds. If a crocodile has a high-stress level, it becomes hard for its body to fight these illnesses. Various things stress the crocodile, such as lack of water, diet changes, water temperature, etc.
But generally, the crocodile has a strong and complex immune system that can fight most bacteria.
Even though it causes death for some crocodiles, it’s among the least contributing factors. Crocodiles can go for long periods, such as several months without food. However, there are times when they miss out on prey after long periods with no food.
It might lead to the death of some species. But crocodiles can survive for more than three years with no food in most extreme scenarios. That’s if they have plenty of fat reserves.
Crocodiles are among the most powerful predators in the wild, but they can be preyed on. Most predators are usually after the young and juvenile crocodiles. Big cats such as leopards and jaguars prey on small crocodiles since they are easy to kill.
Crocodiles’ habitat is always at risk because of continuous human developments. The developments in various regions of Australia, Asia, Africa, etc., have led to many crocodiles’ death.
Background Of Crocodiles
These reptiles are semi-aquatic and live in wetlands. They are the largest reptiles on Earth and are on almost all continents. It’s only in Europe that crocodiles don’t inhabit natively.
Crocodiles are cold-blooded, and this means they can’t generate heat. You’ll mostly find them living in places with tropical climates. There is 14 crocodile specie, and the dwarf crocodile is the smallest species.
It weighs between 40 – and 71 pounds and grows to about 4.9 feet tall. The saltwater crocodile is the largest and weighs between 2,200-and 2,600 lbs.
Plus can grow to 23 feet long. Crocodiles are known to be animals with the strongest bite on Earth.
For example, saltwater crocodiles can bite with a force of more than 5,000 pounds. Their powerful bite allows them to capture different types of prey. Crocodiles are carnivores, and this means their main diet is meat.
Crocodiles’ Average Lifespan
The average crocodile’s lifespan in the wild is between 70-and 100 years, but the saltwater species has the longest lifespan.
In other species, the lifespan ranges between 25-and 70 years. Biologists refer to crocodiles as living fossils because of their extraordinary anti-aging factor.
The Life Cycle Of A Crocodile
There are different crocodile species, but most have a similar life cycle. Here are the four distinct stages in the crocodile’s life cycle.
Female crocodiles make one nest yearly, but this depends on their health. Crocodiles lay about 30-60 eggs and incubate them for the next 80-90 days. The nest’s temperature affects the hatchlings’ sex during the incubation phase.
Unluckily baby crocodiles’ survival rate is quite low. Some predators eat the eggs, or the eggs might get lost due to flooding.
Hatchlings are baby crocodiles, and the mother takes care of them until they are old enough to survive independently.
Hatchlings take around 4-15 years to fully mature, which is quite long.
Young crocodiles need a lot of meat to grow bigger, and after several years they start morphing into adults.
An adult crocodile resembles a lizard, and it’s big with four legs and a strong muscular tail. Plus, they have scaled and rough skin.
Mostly adult crocodiles are uniformly, and their tails have darker cross bands. While young crocodiles are dark olive-brown, and their tails also have darker cross-bands.
The crocodile becomes sexually mature after ten years. At this point, the crocodile is usually 5-10 ft. long. Adult crocodiles spend most of their time hunting at night since they are nocturnal.
If an adult crocodile isn’t hunting, they are thermos-regulating their temperatures.
What Do Crocodiles Eat?
The type of food that a crocodile eats depends on its species, size, and age. Crocodile metabolism is quite slow, enabling them to survive for long periods without food.
Small crocodile species such as fresh water and slender-snouted crocodiles eat fish. Bigger species like saltwater and Nile crocodiles feed on large animals.
Crocodiles are apex predators, and the bigger species can attack and kill other top predators like big cats and sharks. Their stomachs are so acidic, making it easy for them to digest horns, bones, and hooves.
Is It Possible To Tell The Crocodile’s Age By Its Appearance?
It’s difficult and unreliable to measure the crocodile’s age according to its appearance. You can know the exact crocodile age if you were present during its hatching and you monitor it.
However, there’s no easy way for you to determine the exact age.
Normally, crocodiles look old from a young age because of their skins which have scales. Scientists use certain techniques and methods to estimate the crocodile’s age.
The lamellar growth ring is the most popular way of determining the crocodile’s age.
For example, if you cut down a tree, you’ll see rings in its structure. That’s the same thing that scientists check out on crocodile bones and teeth to determine their age.
Animals With Long Lifespans
Other than the crocodile, various animals with crazy lifespans go over the century mark. Amazingly most of these animals are found in water. One of the popular sea animals with a great life span is the Greenland shark.
According to scientists, the lifespan of the Greenland shark is at least 272 years making it the longest-living vertebrate.
Another popular sea animal with a long lifespan is the bowhead or arctic whale. It can live for approximately 200 years, and the oldest died at 211 years.
Bowhead whales serve as historical artifacts, and many still have 200 years old ivory spears on them.
Overall it’s the mammal with the longest lifespan. Other animals with long lifespans include bacteria, sponges, worms, and clams.
The article has all the information you need on “can crocodiles die of old age?” It’s amazing how certain creatures like crocodiles don’t die of old age, yet old age is inevitable in others. Crocodiles are negligible senescence, which means they don’t show any biological aging signs.
Plus, their mental and physical abilities don’t decrease with age. Most crocodile deaths come from other factors such as poaching, climate change, etc.