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Nile crocodile تمساح نيلي
Class: Reptilia
Order: Crocodilian
Family: Crocodylidae
Species: Crocodylus niloticus

 Ancient Egyptians honored Nile crocodiles in special temples, worshipping them as the god Sobek. Whilst alive they were pampered. When they died they were embalmed and buried in sacred tombs.
Nile crocodile's current range of distribution extends from the Senegal River, Lake Chad, Wadai and the Sudan to the Cunene, the Okavango Delta, and Nasir Lake.

Nile crocodiles are found in a wide range of river, lake and swamp environments.
Nile crocodiles have a dark bronze coloration above, with black spots on the back and a dirty yellow on the belly. The flanks, which are yellowish green in color, have dark patches arranged in oblique stripes. There is some variation relative to environment; specimens from swift flowing waters tend to be lighter in color than those dwelling in lakes or swamps. Their eyes are green.
Nile crocodile is the largest crocodilian in Africa. Usually measuring between 3.3 and 5 m (11 and 16 feet), but can grow to 6 m (20 ft). Good sized males weigh 500 kg (1100 lb), but can also reach up to 909 kg (2000 lbs).

These crocodiles feed on fish and large mammals, such as zebra and wildebeest that come to drink at the water's edge. Crocodiles drown larger prey by holding it underwater, before tearing off chunks of flesh by latching on and then twisting their bodies, a manoeuvre known as the 'death roll'. Several prey animals have been found wedged under submerged branches and stones, leading to reports that the crocodiles store unwanted prey for a later date or to soften the flesh. However, another explanation may be that it demonstrates a form of primitive tool use. Lone individuals need to wedge prey under branches to provide anchorage allowing them to twist off chunks. This anchorage would otherwise be provided by other individuals feeding from the carcass.

Social behavior in Nile crocodiles is often underestimated, although there are many aspects still poorly understood. Co-operative feeding behavior has been reported, such as the action of many animals to cordon off an area of water within which to concentrate fish. A hierarchy of feeding order is often observed in such situations, with more dominant animals feeding first. Adults have also been observed fishing using their bodies and tails to corral the fish towards the bank where they are concentrated and picked up with a sideways snatch of the jaws.

Females lay 25-75 eggs, which are covered with sand and closely guarded for up to three months while they incubate. When they are ready to hatch, the young begin to call and their mother digs them out and carries them to the water. The hatchlings are about 30cm long and feed on insects.

Conservation status:
IUCN Red List: Least Concern.

With a wide distribution and an estimated wild population of 250-500,000, Nile crocodile is not considered seriously endangered, although in some areas it is badly depleted and in danger of being completely destroyed in some countries. After a population decline around the middle of the century due to over-hunting, legal protection through CITES has resulted in significant recoveries in several areas, and large populations can now be found.


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