You think - A $15,000 purse or a Predator?
"Prehistoric predator - almost unchanged for over 65 million years!."
It is unnerving to see a gaping mouth with a long row of serrated teeth, even though it is at a fair distance. The only thing I remembered was that this beast is a prehistoric animal and can chomp through anything - clothes, bones, muscle...
It was in 2016 January, that I took this photograph in the Ranthambore tiger preserve in India. While roaming around, straining eyes and ears to get the slightest hint of the presence of a tiger, suddenly, this spectacle presented itself.
This was by the shore of a large lake. I had really not expected to see crocs in that location but there it was. It was at least 12 feet long and it's open jaw was easily agape 2 feet! I froze but managed to snap this picture with my Nikon P900
The open jaw was reflected in the lake water - making for double the terror. Near water, this is one of the most feared predators...
Croc - the hunter
The crocodile is a well designed killing machine of nature that has survived with minimal changes for over 65 million years. It has not changed all that much even for 200 million years.
Crocodiles first appeared on earth around the same period that Dinosaurs did. They are closely related to dinosaurs and coexisted with them. It is quite possible that they chomped down a few dinosaurs as their meals in those days.
Crocodiles can swim very fast - up to 25 miles/hour and can run fast on land too. They can surprise their prey with a sudden burst of speed
Crocs have a skin that is made of a bony structure called osteoderms. This makes them almost bulletproof!
The clamping force of the crocodile's jaw is one of the highest in animal kingdom. Depending on their size, they can bite down with a force more than 2000 pounds! Enough to crush any limb or torso.
Crocodiles tear apart their prey with a violent 'death roll' after they clamp down on a limb of their prey.
Fearsome predators - don't you think? However, the laws of nature make this fearsome predator also an unfortunate prey ...
Croc - the hunted
Believe it or not, this fearsome predator is actually threatened by HUMANS now!
Poaching is going on at such a large scale that most of the 23 species of crocs and alligators are now endangered! It is sad to see that croc are caught and skinned alive. Each skin sells for nearly $15,000.
The skins are used to make purses, boots and folios. The super rich consider them as symbols of being 'elite'. The fashion gone on for decades (perhaps even a century) and is not abating despite all the bans imposed by various governments.
As it is, the rate of reproduction of crocodiles is very very low because up to 99% of baby crocs and alligators get eaten by large fish, hyenas or monitor lizards. The survivors, who become adults, are sought by humans for making Purses!
What irony of fate!
I am not likely to ever use ANY type of purse (unless I have a sex change operation somehow) but I vow NEVER to use any croc skin items like belts, shoes or wallets. What about you?
Let us not just shed crocodile tears - let us do something to help the dears!
Steemians, please comment freely to share your experiences, knowledge and views about crocodiles and their conservation. Thanks.
Note: All images except for the wildlife photos and the title image created by me are from pixabay.com. Image credit has been specifically mentioned for images not falling under these two categories.
Gif crafted by the Legendary @stellabelle for me