Photo of the Week – It’s a mouthful, said the crocodile…
This typical pose of the Nile crocodile has been captured in the late afternoon sun by our guest Thys Lombard. Thys is an amateur photographer and regular guest at Indlovu.
Did you know that a crocodile lies with its mouth open in order to regulate body temperature? On sunny days, crocodiles can be seen basking in the sun which on its own is a method of regulating body temperature, but they also open their mouths in a behavior called “gaping”. Both of these actions help the animal to keep a stable 77° F internal body temperature. It has also been speculated that these animals keep their mouths open to reduce the risk of a fungal infection, by allowing the mouth to dry out. Basking also aids in digestion for crocodiles, as it helps increase the metabolic rate. This is opposed to when the animal is in colder conditions, when the metabolic rate is slowed.
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