Crocodiles are a type of reptile that live in and around bodies of water in tropical and subtropical regions of the world. They belong to the order Crocodylia, as do their cousins the alligators. The American crocodile can grow to be 15 feet long and weighs up to 450 pounds.
Crocodiles are cold-blooded, meaning that they cannot control their body temperature from the inside and must soak in heat from outside sources. To cool off, they sit with their mouth open to release sweat. Also like other reptiles, they have scales and lay eggs. Many people confuse crocodiles and alligators. Crocodiles have a narrower, longer snout than alligators, and they more aggressive.
Crocodiles live in either fresh or saltwater environments, depending on the species. They are carnivores and feed on fish, birds, other reptiles and mammals. Their incredibly powerful jaws make it impossible for their prey to escape. Despite their short legs, they are very fast runners.
Female crocodiles lay eggs and may also guard them until hatching. Once the young crocodiles are born, they are mostly on their own and must avoid herons, large fish and other predators. Human hunters kill adult crocodiles for their skins, which they sell to groups that turn the skins into purses and other luxury items.