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Dino Days-Crocs Rule | Crocodile Smiles | Smart Reptiles | The Gharial and the Monkey | A Crocodile Hunter | Cinderella Crocodile | Croc Speak



"Mahatara: The Supreme God of the Dayaks. He remains aloof from human life and whenever sacrificial food is put ready for him, he sends Antang, his falcon, to pick it up and bring it to the High Heavens, where Mahatara enjoys only the spirit of the sacrifice, the "soul of the food". Mahatara has seven daughters, the Santang Goddesses. They descend to earth by turns, seated on golden brooms. On earth, the Santang Goddesses direct the fate of men: they reward some and punish others. One of Mahatara's sons is Jata, who has a red face and a head the shape of a crocodile's. That is why the Dayaks consider crocodiles to be sacred, and will only kill them when one of their number has eaten a person. The Dayaks will then search the reptile's guts for relics of the dead, and when they find a piece of cloth or other remains they will kill no more crocodiles." - Jan Knappert


Smart Reptiles


Crocodilians are the largest and most intelligent living reptiles. Crocodiles have have bigger brains than other lizards, but it is still only the size of a cigar. The word alligator came from the Spanish word for lizard, "el largato." Say it five times fast and you may come up with something like alligator.
Mahatara's son had seven sisters who decided the fate of men.

We know that crocodiles actually can learn by observing behavior. Crocodiles recognize a pattern when animals come to the river to drink at the same time each day. That is why when on an Amazon River expedition DO NOT go to the same place at the same time every day to do your washing. You might end up as a crocodile snack.


If you are ever on the coast Florida, remember not to swim at dusk when alligators are feeding, or on summer nights when they are most active. And keep your pets away from the water!

Fortunately, crocodiles are hungry only once every two weeks or so. Crocodile attacks are the second biggest animal danger to people in Africa, next to the hippo.

Speaking of Snacks...

Crocs eat rocks! All crocodilians swallow stones sometimes to help in digestion and add weight so that it can stay underwater. Crocodiles can remain submerged for as long as an hour. The average croc has 10 to 15 pounds of stone in its stomach; but, for such large creatures, they really eat very little and not very often. Because they are slow moving and cold blooded, they are able to survive on about the same amount of food as a small bird.

A crocodile will attack just about anything that goes near the water, but sticks to eating fish most of the time, with occasional turtles, small animals and birds. They also enjoy tasty raccoons, muskrats and even capybara, the most popular treat of the South American caiman.


Nile crocodiles cooperate in food gathering by forming a dam with their bodies to catch fish. They take turns with larger prey: one holds the victim down while the other one rips it apart.

Crocodilians have community nurseries where one mother watches over the hatchlings of many. The way crocodilians live and work as members of a group is one sign of their unique intelligence. Their survival as a species since the age of dinosaurs is another proof of perfect adaptation to their environment.

Cold Blood, Warm Heart



Baby between eggs speaks. Just click!
Like other reptiles all of which are cold-blooded, alligators and other crocodilians lay eggs. Alligators build their nests above the ground (like that at left) and crocodiles build theirs below. Crocodilians may be cold blooded but not completely cold hearted.

Mother crocodilians guard their nests and protect their young until they are big enough to survive on their own, or for 2 to 3 years. They teach their babies to swim much like mother ducks. Crocodilian moms carry their babies around in their mouths to protect them from harm. Even with their careful mothers, only about one out of every ten crocodilian hatchlings make it to adulthood. Baby crocodilians are easy prey for many other animals, from birds of prey to ferrets and other reptiles.


Dino Days-Crocs Rule | Crocodile Smiles | Smart ReptilesSmart Reptiles | The Gharial and the Monkey | A Crocodile Hunter | Cinderella Crocodile | Croc Speak

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Pacific Mythology Excerpts © 1992 Jan Knappert - All Rights Reserved
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