Q:

Can a crocodile stick out its tongue?

A:

Quick Answer

Due to a restrictive membrane, crocodiles can't stick out their tongues. This membrane keeps the crocodile's tongue attached to the roof of its mouth rather than the base. The inability to stick out their tongues differentiates crocodiles from their relatives, the alligators.

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Full Answer

Because of the unique anatomy of the crocodile's tongue and the tissue called the palatal flap at the back of the throat, a crocodile can keep out excess water or air that sifts through its teeth. Because of this, crocodiles, who primarily hunt underwater and use their mouths to catch prey, can open their mouths below the surface in preparation for a kill. Crocodiles also have a salt gland in their tongues and an opening on the tongue's surfaces.

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Related Questions

  • Q:

    How long do crocodiles live?

    A:

    The life span of crocodiles varies depending on the species. In the wild, large crocodile species tend to live between 60 and 70 years, while smaller species live for 30 to 40 years on average.

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  • Q:

    How do crocodiles protect themselves?

    A:

    Crocodiles use defense mechanisms like camouflage and distress calls that alert nearby crocodiles of danger, both of which help protect themselves against predators. Their hard, scaly exterior also provides a protective barrier against attacks, as well as their own aptitude to attack and drown a threat or prey.

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  • Q:

    What does the Nile crocodile eat?

    A:

    The main diet of the Nile crocodile is fish, but crocodiles are opportunistic hunters. They prey upon most anything that crosses their path, including zebras, small hippos, birds, rodents and other crocodiles. Common prey species include antelope, monkeys, gazelles, water buck and impala.

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  • Q:

    Why are saltwater crocodiles endangered?

    A:

    Saltwater crocodiles are endangered because of habitat loss and human activities, such as illegal hunting and poaching. Saltwater crocodiles have few natural predators, but draw attention from humans for their meat, eggs and skin. Competition for space with human communities and their tendency to attack people in their territories also make saltwater crocodiles targets for kills by humans.

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