Life Cycle of a Crocodile: Lesson for Kids

Instructor: Jennifer Farrell

Jen has taught Science in accredited schools in North & South America for thirteen years and has a degree in Sociology (Epidemiology & Aids Research).

Like all living things, crocodiles change and grow over the duration of their life cycle. This lesson will investigate the three stages of a crocodile's life cycle: before birth, young, and adult.

Simple Life Cycles

What if the way you looked when you were a baby - the size of your hands and feet, the tone of your voice, and the amount of information you can remember - never changed as you grew older? We would probably look and act ridiculous, seeming like babies as fifty year old adults!

Thankfully, all living things go through a series of stages and changes, both physically and mentally. These changes that happen, from birth until death, are known as a life cycle. Most animals have very simple life cycles, which means the cycle has only three stages. These animals can be born alive from their mothers, like humans, or hatched from an egg, like a crocodile. Let's investigate the three stages of a crocodile.

Before Birth

Would you believe that crocodiles can be sweet and caring? Although crocodiles are typically aggressive predators, they nurture and care for their babies before and after their birth. A female crocodile lays her eggs in a hole she makes along a riverbed or the shoreline, nearly two months after mating. This is called nesting, which is the process of building a shelter to deposit the eggs in while they develop towards hatching.

The number of eggs the crocodile lays varies on the species of crocodile. (Species are a group of living things that can make more of itself. In total, there are fourteen species of crocodiles found around the world.) For example, the Nile crocodile deposits anywhere between 25 and 80 eggs, the saltwater crocodile lays 40-60 eggs, and the American crocodile 30-70 eggs. Unlike most reptiles, who leave after depositing their eggs, the work of crocodile parents is far from being over. For the next three months, the female crocodile closely guards the eggs and the male stays nearby to protect the female and her eggs from predators.

Young

Have you ever had a friend who looks just like their parents, only smaller? This stage of the life cycle is called 'young'. When the babies hatch, they look just like their parents, but there is one obvious difference: their size. Some adult crocodile species grow up to 17 feet long; however, the babies are typically only 12 inches.

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