Earlier this year I visited our local Crocodile Ranch - it's in an unusual location because Otjiwarongo is far from their natural habitat in northern Namibia where they're found in the Kunene, Okavango, Zambezi, Liambezi and Kwando Rivers as well as in the Okavango Swamps.
Our local species is the Nile Crocodile, Crocodylus niloticus, which is, (or was), widespread throughout central and southern Africa. The bigger ones in these pics are for breeding purposes.
A very large specimen going walkies - they don't seem to walk very far before flopping down on their bellies to rest.
Personally, these reptiles give me the creeps, I think it's their cold eyes that turn me off. At least with a Lion, it seems that they may be open to discussion before they eat you - not so with a croc.
One of the nurseries. If I remember correctly our guide, Tate Ganache, said that these were about two years old.
They're bred mainly for their skins which are made into belts, handbags and shoes. I checked-out some of the items on sale and was astounded at the prices they were asking, way beyond what the average person could afford (if you're inclined to adorn yourself with crocodile skin).
Apparently, some of the meat is eaten in exotic restaurants but ewwwww ... not for me thanks!
There are hundreds of young crocs in the temperature-controlled nurseries. It's pretty humid and smelly in there.
I couldn't resist asking Tate Ganache how they were slaughtered when they are ready to be harvested and he replied that they're dispatched with a .22 bullet in the skull.
Smile for the camera.
A croc's teeth are not used for chewing, they serve as clamps to hold their prey while they drag it under the water. If a tooth is lost, it is soon replaced by a new one. They account for many human deaths in Africa each year.
Crocodile Toilets - everyone knows it's not cool to pee in the pool ...
Crocodiles have an immensely long evolutionary history, 'relics' from the Mesozoic Era between 140 to 240 million years ago, they have seen continents shift and have persisted through many ice ages - can they survive the age of Man?
Amy Schoeman - Notes On Nature