Some animals are fast on land, others on the water. Among birds, there are swift flying birds and high-flying birds. Animals have special ways in which they move from one place to another. Crocodiles are no different and, in this article, we will explain how do crocodiles move and how fast are crocodiles on land and water. It is amazing that they can thrive on both land and underwater, now let’s learn about their mobility.
1. What are Crocodiles?
- They are large reptiles belonging to the family of Crocodilia.
- They are amphibians and can survive underwater and on land.
- They have a large-scaled body with webbed feet and a V-shaped snout. They are fast swimmers and spend most of their time underwater. (See Go Dawgs Sic Em Meaning)
2. How do Crocodiles Move During Swimming?
When swimming, their tail helps them move towards something as their legs are small. Their forelimbs do not have webbing and have five fingers. The hind legs are webbed and have four fingers and a toe. While they swim, they tuck in their limbs making their body similar to a snake. It enables them to swim swiftly. When they are swimming slowly, they keep their hind limbs out in the water. They can move their hind limbs upwards to submerge rapidly in the water without disturbing it. (Also read Can Cows Swim?)
3. What is a High Walk?
So you may ask, how fast are crocodiles on land? Well unlike in water, they are not swift on land. Still, they can walk easily on land. A high walk is common in crocodiles when they are on the ground. They do this by keeping their feet erect beneath their body upholding the body from the land. Half of their tail is also upheld from the ground while the rest drag when they walk. But how fast are crocodiles on land? By following high walk motion, they can move at a speed of 2 to 4 km per hour.
High walk motion is beneficial when coming down from steep slopes or mud banks. Sometimes they slide on their feet and their tail moves from one side to another for propulsion. (Also read Do Anteaters Eat Ants?)
4. How do they do a Belly Crawl?
Most of you might have seen them walking like this on the ground. This walking posture is done by splaying the legs outside while the feet are pointing outwards and the body is touching the ground. Doing this they crawl slowly by moving their legs diagonally. They move their right front (hind) leg and left rear legs simultaneously and the other pair also moves together. It helps them propel their body forward.
During the belly crawl, they keep their body rigid but as they increase the speed, they lift their body above the ground along with its tail. This way, they gain momentum for walking faster and escape any danger. In this posture, their average speed ranges between 5 km per hour to 10 km per hour. (Also read Why Are Cats Tongue So Rough?)
5. How Fast are Crocodiles on Land if they are Galloping?
Galloping is a fast way of walking, like running in a hurry. They do this by applying force on their feet, lifting their body up and above the ground. Then they move front limbs out and their hind limbs thrust the body forward. Then they land on their front limbs and the process is repeated. While galloping their tail moves up and down instead of side to side.
They can gallop as fast as 18 km per hour up to nearly 100 meters. It is the maximum distance they can gallop before their body gets exhausted. Few species use this type of movement. It can be seen in Australian Freshwater crocodiles almost every time they have to move rapidly on the land. (Also read Do Penguins Have Knees?)
6. How Fast they can Swim?
Walking on land tires them but swimming is easier. Underwater they keep their limbs attached to their sides and only use the tail to move forward. When they swim fast to catch the prey they become like snakes with no limbs and their body moves rapidly inside water. Their swimming speed can reach up to 32 km per hour, much faster than their walking speed. (Also read Who is the Fastest Swimmer?)
7. How can they Float?
Apart from swimming, they have mastered the technique of floating in water in two ways, vertical floating and horizontal floating.
- In vertical floating, they only keep their head above water and the rest of the body remains floating underwater. They may be in a standing position during this. This technique helps them hunt their prey easily as only their eyes, nose, and head are visible.
- In horizontal floating they remain intact on the water surface, almost motionless. They keep the limbs splayed outwards to prevent them from rolling. Their feet act as stabilizers and help in making necessary adjustments to keep them floating. If they are in flowing water, they wag their tail slightly to keep floating horizontally. (Also read Can it Rain Spiders?)
8. How do they Stay Submerged?
They move inside the water, exhale all the air in their lungs and start moving their legs in an upward motion. This helps them settle down in the water without causing any disturbance on the water surface. Crocodiles can hold their breath underwater for up to one hour. Inside the water, they walk on the river bed or swim. (Also read How Do Porcupines Attack?)
Now you can understand how do crocodiles move and how fast are crocodiles on land and water. So next time you encounter them, remember to keep a safe distance. (Also read 21 Healthiest Fish for Fishetarians