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Crocodiles belong to the largest living reptiles. They, and their look-alikes , the alligators, have a long body that looks like a cigar, short legs and long, powerful tails to swim. They have long snouts and sharp teeth to kill and eat their victims.

Crocodiles live in tropical countries all over the world. They prefer shallow water, rivers and swamps. Using their webbed feet, they can walk on soft, muddy ground. Their eyes and noses are higher than the rest of their head, so when they swim only these two organs are above the surface of the water.

Crocodiles eat many small animals, like fish, birds and turtles, which they catch with their mouth and twist into pieces. Sometimes they also attack people.

Like most reptiles, crocodiles come to land to lay eggs in the sand. Female animals guard them until they hatch.

Most crocodiles live in Asia and Africa, but there are a few groups that live in North and South America. American crocodiles live in Florida and on islands in the West Indies. A grown-up American crocodile can be about 4 metres long.



The Nile crocodile lives almost everywhere in Africa, except in the Sahara desert. Saltwater crocodiles can be found in India and islands of southeast Asia. There are also crocodiles that live in Australia.

Crocodiles were once much larger. Fossils show that these reptiles once reached a length of about 15 metres. Today crocodiles are hunted all over the world. Industries need their hide to make shoes and handbags. So some species are even in danger of becoming extinct.

Many countries have passed laws that forbid the hunting and killing of these reptiles. Some environmentalists have begun projects to collect crocodile eggs, hatch them and release the babies into the wild.



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  • environmentalist = someone who cares about protecting the world we live in
  • extinct = to die out
  • forbid = stop , not to allow
  • fossil = an animal or plant that lived millions of years ago. The shape of its body can be seen in a rock
  • guard = to watch over and protect something or somebody
  • hatch = when a baby animal comes out of an egg
  • hide = skin
  • law =the rules in a country
  • look-alike = they look like other animals
  • release = to let go, let free
  • shallow = not very deep
  • snout = a long nose that some animals and reptiles have
  • species = a group of animals that look the same
  • surface =the top layer of something
  • swamp = land that is always wet or covered with water
  • tail = the part of an animal’s body that is at the back
  • twist = to bend or turn
  • webbed = to have skin between the toes
  • victim =person or animal who is attacked