Here at Ntokozo & Sibaka Game Lodge we know what it's like to raise a Nile crocodile from a hatchling that can fit in the palm of your hand to a full grown monster that can potentially eat you.
We have 31 breeding crocodiles which consist of 5 males and the rest are females, they stay in a billabong breeding pen and once a year they mate and lay eggs (breading is normally in September).
  • The Nile crocodile is the largest of the four crocodile species found in Africa.
  • They have a maximum length of 6.2 m from the head to the tip of the tail.
  • They usually weigh 225 kg but will reach weights of up to 730 kg.
  • It is feared as a great man-killer, and its large, stocky body doesn't help its reputation.
  • The snout is long and broad and ends in nostrils which can close underwater. The eyes have a third eyelid which protect them while underwater. The Nile crocodile will normally dive for no more than a couple of minutes but can stay under for up to 2-3 hours if needed.
  • The eyes, ears, and nostrils are found on the same plane on the top of the head, allowing the crocodile to be completely submerged underwater while still being able to see, smell, and hear.
  • The teeth on the top jaw are in line with the bottom jaw, a feature which distinguishes all crocodiles from alligators. Nile crocodiles have 66 teeth.
  • The skin is rough, scaly, and waterproof. It prevents dehydration and loss of body salt.
  • The back and tail are covered in rows of knobs. The skin is classic: it has no osteoderms (bony plates) under the skin. For this reason the skin is highly valued.
  • Nile crocodiles have a four-chambered heart like a bird, but they are still cold-blooded and rely on the sun for heat.
  • They have a special throat pouch which allows them to eat underwater.
  • They have great vision; the pupils are vertical slits which widen at night.
  • The Nile crocodile has an average life span of 45 years in the wild, 80 in captivity, even over 100.
  • A farmed crocodile reaches 1.5 m in length in just two year. In the wild, without such a constant food supply, it requires 5 years to reach the same length.
  • Crocodiles can swim with just the help of their powerful tail with 40km per hour; they can also execute jumps out of the water, several meters long.
  • The first crocodile appeared 240 million years ago, at the same time as the dinosaurs (to which they are related), had less than 1 m in length and ran on two feet! That’s why even today, crocodiles have longer hind limbs than fore limbs.
  • The bite force exerted by an adult Nile crocodile has been measured at 5,000 lbf (22 kN). The muscles used for closing the mouth (to hold prey) are however much stronger than the muscles responsible for opening the mouth, so even a human can hold the mouth of a crocodile shut.
  • Crocodylus (Genus) niloticus (Species) means “Crocodile of the Nile River”.
To "cry crocodile tears" is a common expression which is used for depicting fake sadness. It has its origins in the myth according to which reptiles weep while eating humans. But, believe it or not, crocodiles really do wipe while feasting, but rather due to physiological reasons than remorse. Their eyes can froth and bubble during the feeding. Air pushed through the sinuses could mix with tears in the animal's lacrimal (tear) glands and the whole content could be emptied into the eye; resulting the "fake" remorse.

 
We have created artificial nest that are filled with river sand which allows the crocodiles to dig their own holes of about 40cm deep to lay the eggs in.
Once the eggs have been laid they are collected in a box filled with vermiculite, special care is taken when harvesting the eggs as the crocodile egg are not allowed to turn from its original position.
They are then transferred into the incubator room where they are then repacked into another box filled with wet humid vermiculite, where they will be staying till they hatch (this normally happens in January). The temperature must be at a constant 32 degrees C to ensure the sex of the crocodile and no deformities develops.
Once they have hatched they are kept in a hot house for the next year where they will be at a set temperature of 32 degrees C, which helps them to eat regular and digest faster.
After one year in the hot house they are then transferred to the outside rearing ponds where they are kept for the next 2 years and are fed every 3rd day.
When our crocodiles reach the age of 3 years or the correct measured length required they are then humanely culled and collected for skinning and meat processing.
Our breeding crocodile stops eating during winter months, April till August, which is when they hibernate. Our 1-3 year old crocodiles have either hot houses or infrared lights which keeps their bodies warmer so that they can eat right through the winter months.
     


 

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