Crocodilians have a surprising maternal instinct
They may have a reputation of being bloodthirsty animals, but crocodiles are actually loving mothers. 🐊💕
Yes, crocodiles are good mothers
Despite their reputation of being bloodthirsty animals driven by their primal instincts, crocodilians are distinguished from other reptiles by their maternal care. First of all, the females build a nest to shelter their eggs: some species dig a hole and others construct a mound out of vegetation and soil. During the incubation period, the female will keep guard to protect her little ones. Staying close to her eggs during several months, depending on the species, she won’t hesitate to attack any potential threat. In the case of Nile crocodiles, females have been seen entering a trance-like state, staying motionless near the eggs, occasionally moving to cool off.
When it comes time to hatch, the babies will emit sound from inside the egg. This sound signals the mother, who will dig out the eggs and sometimes even help the hatching by fracturing the shell with her jaws. Once the eggs have hatched, alligators and crocodiles have a surprising behavior. If the nest is far from water, the female will carry her offspring in her mouth. She can carry a large number of them thanks to an extendable pouch located in her throat. The aim of this manoeuvre: to bring the hatchlings to the nearest water source. For several months, they will stay close to their mother, who will protect them, before their dispersal once they have reached maturity.
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