Why saltwater crocodile is the king of the reptile world?

A saltwater crocodile.

The rulership by the saltwater crocodile as king of reptile world is undisputed.

But, why should it be given the title king of the reptile world in the first place?

Mighty jaws and teeth

Picture of a crocodile with it's mouth open.

The saltwater crocodile goes by the scientific name Crocodylus porosus, meaning “a crocodile full of callosities.”

This name refers to the scaly humps on the upper surface of its snout. They form two ridges running from the eyes to the nostrils.

The snout is shaped like a triangle and makes up about one seventh of the entire body length.

One croc, showcased in Palau Museum, measures 18 inches [40 cm] across the widest part of its king-size head!

When the crocodile’s lower jaw drops open, you stare at scissor-sharp teeth anchored in jaws that can be shut with devastating force.

The only weak parts of the jaws are the muscles for opening them.

Funny one source says that a rubber band is usually sufficient to keep the mouth of a seven-foot-long [2 m] crocodile closed.

Designed for water

A saltwater crocodile in water.

The crocodile’s head is not only huge but also masterly designed for its aquatic world.

Take a closer look (at a stuffed croc, that is!), and you will notice that the ears, eyes, and nostrils form the highest points on its head.

They project just above the water’s surface when the croc floats.

Curiously, though, even when the animal shuts its mouth, it cannot keep water out, since it has no lips covering the jawbone.

But water that enters the mouth cannot flow into the throat because a valve blocks the entrance to the throat.

And since air is inhaled through the nostrils and enters the body behind this valve, the croc can breathe while its mouth is full of water.

And what about underwater vision? No problem at all.

While submerged, the crocodile draws a clear membrane, or third eyelid, across its eyes.

This membrane protects the eye without causing loss of vision.

Royal Dimensions

A large saltwater crocodile.

The saltwater crocodile is the largest reptile in the world.

When males reach ten and a half feet [3.2 m], they are mature but keep growing for many more years.

Mark Carwardine, author of The Guinness Book of Animal Records, states that a wildlife sanctuary in India houses once recorded a male saltwater crocodile that measured 23 feet [7 m] in length!

The crocodiles habitat has royal dimensions as well.

The same source says that the home range of the saltwater crocodile is larger than that of all other species of crocodiles.

Saltwater crocodiles live throughout the tropical regions of Asia and the Pacific, an area stretching from India to Australia and the Palau archipelago.

Why endangered?

Holding a baby crocodile in my hands.

Since adult saltwater crocodiles have a large hide, they became a special target.

However, each time hunters killed a mature female, they also prevented the hatching of the 1,000 or so babies that the female might have produced during her lifetime.

Consequently, the crocodile population dwindling.

Granted, humans have reason to be wary of saltwater crocodiles, for their attacks can be fatal.

However as author Carwardine notes:

"the harm they do us is minuscule compared to the devastation we have reaped on them.”

The saltwater crocodile may not be your idea of a close friend, but don’t you agree that it makes an impressive king?