Crocodile, the largest of living reptiles, found throughout the tropical and subtropical regions of the world. Crocodiles live near swamps and marshes. They spend much of their time basking in the sun.
There are 12 species of crocodiles. The American crocodile, the only species found in the United States, lives in southern Florida, Mexico, Central America, and the Caribbean islands. Most crocodiles are shy; however, the Nile crocodile of Africa and the saltwater crocodile of southeastern Asia, Australia, and the Pacific Islands are dangerous, and unprovoked attacks on humans are common. Crocodiles are hunted for their meat, their skin (which is made into leather), and their musk (which is used in perfumes). Because of hunting and destruction of their habitat most crocodile species are endangered. Some species of crocodiles are preyed upon by lions, leopards, and tigers.The crocodile has a heavy tail, short legs, and webbed hind feet.
Yes, one kind of crocodile does live in North America. American crocodiles live on islands in the Caribbean (kar uh BEE uhn) and along the coast of Central America. Some also live in the southernmost part of Florida.
American crocodiles can grow to be very large, as large as 20 feet (6.1 meters). But most of these crocodiles are smaller than American alligators.
American crocodiles spend their days resting in sheltered waters, among thick plants, or in their dens. They come out at night to feed. They build nests by digging holes in the sand or in a riverbank. Sometimes, if there is no place to dig, American crocodiles build mound nests.