Do Crocodiles & Alligators Die of Old Age? (Are they Immortal)

If you thought that these alpha reptiles are immortal and some kind of Godzilla-like super creatures – I’m sorry to burst your bubble. Just like other animals out there in the wild, crocodilians die of old age and will also develop conditions as they grow older that can lead to an untimely death. Let’s put it more clearly…

Do crocodiles and alligators die of old age? Contrary to popular belief that they just keep growing until they are killed, crocodiles and alligators actually do die of old age and sickness and they DO NOT grow indefinitely but eventually reach a point where they’re effectively not getting any bigger. They also tend to lose their teeth, develop cataracts, and produce fewer eggs with old age.

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Table of Contents

Do alligators stop growing?

It is true that there are some monster-sized alligators and crocodiles out there, like an almost 30-foot long crocodile that was shot in 1957 in Queensland, Australia. But, does that mean that they just keep growing until they are shot or killed by other crocodiles or predators? The scientists agree that that is not the case. Alligators do indeed stop growing at some stage, otherwise, there would a lot of massive 80-foot reptiles walking around.

Do alligators like marshmallows?

This notion that alligators like to eat marshmallows was popularized by True Blood, a TV show that aired on HBO. But feeding alligators with marshmallows has been around for years. But do alligators really prefer marshmallows to let’s say, chicken? I don’t think so. They just respond to something being tossed at them and will opportunistically gobble it down. If you threw car keys at them, they would probably eat them no problem.

People have found all sorts of strange items in their stomachs over the years. Things like dog tags, glass, shotgun shells, cans, and spark plugs along with wood and rocks that they sometimes swallow for digestion.

READ ALSO: 30+ Alligator (Loggerhead) Snapping Turtle Questions Answered – The Loggerhead Snapper

Do alligators lay eggs?

Alligators and crocodiles both lay eggs, the difference being in the number of eggs laid. Alligators lay 20 – 60 eggs and crocodiles 7 – 95 eggs. The eggs are laid in either sand holes or mound nests made out of vegetation, depending on species. The sex of the offspring is determined by the temperature in the nest at a ratio of five females to one male alligator.

Contrary to popular belief, alligators do not lay eggs in water but about 3-14 inches deep into a nest.

Do alligators live in lakes?

Yes, crocodiles and alligators do live in lakes and other freshwater environments like rivers, wetlands, ponds, marshes, swamps, and brackish waters. The majority of American alligators inhabit Florida and Louisiana, with over a million alligators in each state with Southern Florida being the only place where both alligators and crocodiles live side by side.

Can alligators smell blood?

Can alligators smell blood
Can alligators smell blood?

Alligators and crocodiles are apex predators with razor-sharp senses like night-vision, hearing, and yes, smell. Experiments show that crocodiles detect both air-borne and water-soluble chemicals and use their superior sense of smell for hunting. Alligators and crocodiles can detect prey, blood, or animal carcasses that are either on land or in water, from far away.

Do crocodiles feel pain?

Although it’s difficult to find any research on whether crocodiles can feel pain – reptiles, amphibians, and fish have the neuroanatomy necessary to perceive pain and until a definitive answer about pain in crocodiles is available, it would seem most ethical for veterinarians, and others involved with reptiles, to assume that they are capable of feeling pain, and to treat or manage their pain.

Crocodile’s sense of touch is one of the most acute in the animal kingdom and they even love to play, at least during courtship when the female gets on the back of the male crocodile and he gives her a few rides around the pool.

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Do crocodiles cry?

Both crocodiles and alligators do indeed cry in the sense that they shed tears to lubricate their eyes and not in the sense that they are sad or in distress. There is evidence suggesting this could also be triggered by feeding. So, they do shed genuine tears (that are full of proteins and minerals) and not “crocodile tears” that some humans cry.

If you’re not familiar with the term “crocodile tears” – it is an insincere display of emotion such as a hypocrite crying fake tears of grief; i.e. crocodiles shedding tears while consuming their prey.

Do crocodiles have scales?

Crocodile scales
Crocodile scales

Crocodiles and alligators have scales that are arranged in a regular pattern, on most of their bodies except on bellies and sides where they have smooth skin and thick, bony plates that occur on the back. Their armored skin full of scales provides protection when fighting other crocs or attacking prey that can bite back like hippos that supposedly are capable of biting a 10-foot crocodile in half.

Thick skin is still capable of absorbing heat because a network of small capillaries allows blood through the scales to absorb heat. Their scales even have pores believed to be sensory in the function and are located on upper and lower jaws.

Crocodile scales

Do crocodiles eat humans?

Yes, crocodiles are known to attack and eat humans and the vast majority of both fatal and non-fatal crocodilian attacks are done by the two species – the Nile crocodile and saltwater crocodile. Each year, the Nile crocodile attacks hundreds of people in Sub-Saharan Africa. Research shows that at least half of all attacks by the Nile and saltwater crocodiles are fatal, while in Australia, that figure is 25%.

India sure doesn’t lack animals that are deadly to their inhabitants because the mugger crocodile is killing several people in India every year that are often not eaten, unlike other crocodiles that don’t let food go to waste.

Nevertheless, you are roughly a hundred times more likely to drown than to be bitten by a crocodile while swimming in northern Australia.

A farmed crocodile reaches 1.5 m (5 ft) in length in just one year. In the wild, without such a constant food supply, it requires 3 years to reach the same length.

Do crocodiles eat hippos?

Do crocodiles eat hippos
Do crocodiles eat hippos?

Hippos are way too big and too powerful for even the biggest crocodiles. That is why crocodiles will only attack and eat the most vulnerable of hippos – hippo babies, or calves. But, are hippos their favorite prey? No, they’re not. Crocs will rather ambush smaller land animals and fish that are unaware of them lurking possibly only a few inches away.

Do crocodiles eat hippos
Crocodile eating baby hippo

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What do crocodiles eat?

What a crocodile eats will vary greatly depending on age, size, and species. They do have a very slow metabolism, so they can survive long periods without food. There are fish-eating species, like the slender-snouted and freshwater crocodiles, and then there are bigger species like the Nile crocodile and the saltwater crocodile that prey on large mammals.

Crocodiles are top predators in their environment, and some species will even attack and kill other top predators such as sharks and big cats! But all young crocodiles have to start somewhere so they’ll mostly hunt invertebrates and small fish, gradually moving on to larger prey.

Crocodiles have the most acidic stomachs of any vertebrate which helps them to easily digest bones, hooves, and even horns. They’re known to swallow stones (called gastroliths or stomach stones), which help with crushing hard to digest food.

ALSO READ: Do Sharks Eat Octopus? (And vice versa)

Do crocodiles sleep?

Crocodile sleeping
Crocodile sleeping

Crocodiles have a slow metabolism which enables them to go without food for longer periods of time. That means that have a lot of time to sleep. According to researchers, they can sleep up to 17 hours per day, and some of it with one eye open – so-called unihemispheric slow-wave sleep where one half of their brain rests while the other half remains alert.

Do crocodiles and alligators like rain?

They probably don’t like the rain that much as you won’t see that many crocs and alligators outside of the water during the rain. I know I like to be underwater in a swimming pool or sea when summer rain starts to pour with only the top of my head sticking out.