Date 06/22/2017 Categories Travel Blog
The force of a crocodile’s bite is more powerful than that of a Rottweiler and even a great white shark.
In fact, the immense force of a croc’s bite is the strongest bite of any animal on earth. A 5.5 meter/18 foot Nile crocodile’s bit was measured at more than 5,000 lbf (pounds of force), which compares to just 335 lbf for a Rottweiler, 670 lbf for a great white shark.
The reptile’s upper and lower jaws are the same width, and the teeth in the lower jaw fall along the outside of the upper jaw when the mouth is closed, making all teeth visible. Crocodiles are polyphyodonts, which means that they can replace each of the 80 teeth up to 50 times in their 35 to 75-year lifespan. Next to each mature tooth is a small replacement tooth and an odontogenic stem cell in the tissues that is activated when necessary.
The extraordinary bite of crocodilians is a result of anatomy. The space for the jaw muscle in the skull is very large and easily seen from the outside as a bulge on each side. The muscle is almost as hard as bone as if it were a continuation of the skull; and the jaw is designed to clamp down like a vise. These ambush predators feed by grabbing their prey with those powerful muscles, closing the jaws and holding them shut. Yet, in spite of their powerful bite, crocodiles have extremely small and weak muscles to open the jaw. Remember that if you ever encounter one.
Crocodiles are found throughout the tropics of the world. Ancestors include the three-foot long Xilousuchus, dating back to 250,000,000 BCE, and the 35-foot long Stomatosuchus, from about 100,000,000 BCE.
Explore the world of Africa’s modern crocodiles as well as other incredible and unique wildlife and the landscapes they inhabit in one of our luxury safari adventures such as our President’s Pick College Edition: Southern Africa: Teeth of the Crocodile.