Inside Nature’s Giants: The Crocodile

I watched the third episode of  excellent TV series Inside Nature’s Giants last night (recorded from earlier in the week). Week 1 was an elephant; week 2 was a whale; this week was a Nile crocodile.

I love crocodilians. I think they’re fascinating animals. Like sharks, they’re well-adapted predators whose suitability for their environment means they haven’t evolved much in millions of years. You’ve gotta respect that. And this show, like the others, laid bare all the interior structures that make this animal what it is.

They showed how the massive underjaw muscles are made for swift, powerful bites, while the muscles that lift the upper jaw are tiny but have great endurance (waiting for the right moment to use the underjaw ones).

They showed how the complicated aortic arrangement of the crocodile’s heart can pump extra blood to its stomach so that it can digest the things – bones, skin, and hooves – it must swallow whole since it has no chewing teeth.

They showed how a crocodile can not only inflate but also move its lungs, changing not only its buoyancy but also its centre of gravity.

And they showed what caused this relatively young crocodile to die prematurely.