Crocodile Museum

Crocodile museum
Our air-conditioned museum is one of the highlights of Crocodylus Park. You can spend as long as you want here, as there's no shortage of fascinating crocodile facts. Learn about the origin of crocodiles, how many different species there are, what makes them tick, what makes them so feared - and revered. It's all here, and it's illustrated with everything from photos to live crocodiles. Take a look below for a brief glimpse at what the museum has to offer.


The Origin of Crocodiles
 
Crocodilians
are one of the most successful groups of vertebrates on Earth - their ancestors first appeared in the fossil record over 230 million years ago, which is twice as long as the first mammals. Humans have only been around for one quarter of one million years.

We often describe crocodiles as the "last of the dinosaurs", but this is not accurate. Crocodiles share a common ancestor with dinosaurs and birds (they are all archosaurs), but crocodiles are not descendants of dinosaurs. In fact, the earliest ancestors of crocodiles appeared before the dinosaurs!

Did you know...?
  • The largest crocodilians that ever lived were as long as Tyrannosaurus rex, around 11-12 m (35-40 ft) in length, and were real dinosaur killers! Several species grew to such massive sizes, including Sarcosuchus ("king crocodile") and Deinosuchus ("terror crocodile").
  • Crocodiles were once much more diverse than those alive today. There were terrestrial crocodiles which ran and galloped with ease, marine crocodiles which looked like dolphins, and even a fossil crocodilian with teeth suited to chewing vegetable matter. Vegetarian crocs, indeed!
  • Believe it or not, birds are the closest living relatives of modern crocodiles. We now know that birds evolved from dinosaurs, and hence birds are literally crocodile cousins.
  • The largest living reptile in the world is the Saltwater Crocodile (Crocodylus porosus). Large males can can grow over 6 m (20 ft) in length and exceed a ton in weight! The largest ever seen may have been 7 m (23 ft) long.
  • The smallest living crocodilian is Cuvier's Dwarf Caiman (Paleosuchus palpebrosus), which is found in South America. Adults rarely grow larger than 1.2 m (4 ft), and they spend most of their time hiding in burrows during the day, and coming out at night to feed and patrol their territory in rainforest streams.
  • Australian Freshwater Crocodiles (Crocodylus johnstoni) can gallop at speeds of up to 17 km per hour. Galloping allows them to jump over rocks and logs to get to the water quickly.