Salties

Netflix has quite a few documentaries for instant viewing over the internet.  Of course, with my wonderful new bluray player, it streams directly to my tv – I love it! As a contrast to all the crime drama and horror flicks in my queue I have several of these documentaries on different animals.  Today’s choice was the saltwater crocodile.

These reptiles are fantastic! They can grow over 20 feet long, can move up to 12 mph underwater without even causing a ripple, can learn people (and animals) behavioral patterns to maximize their attack, and can crush a human skull in one chomp.

When they want most of their body to be underwater, they shift their liver downward towards their tail thus shifting their point of gravity.  They have a four chamber heart – something no other reptile (other than other crocs/alligators) has which pumps extra blood to their muscles which allows them to attack at lightning speeds.  They also have solar panels on their back that absorb the sun’s rays and then maintains the croc’s body temp at a consistent degree for days.

Once they have latched onto prey, they take it into the water for the well known death roll.  They do this to drown the prey but also because their jaws dismember/chunk flesh as the croc twists.  Few who get in the jaws of a saltie get away though the documentary had two recreations where the people did.

The first was a group of four people who had camped by the river for 12 days.  Unbeknownst to the group, a saltie was out in the water watching them – learning their patterns and weaknesses.  One night when the group went to sleep, the saltie came up to one of the tents.  Hearing the noise outside, the man opened the tent to see what was there and the croc grabbed him.  The man screamed which brought his wife and the other couple to his aid. 

The other man’s wife jumped on the croc trying to pry its mouth off the man while the man’s wife tried to pull him free.  Without skipping a beat, the croc released the man and clamped onto the women beating him instead and started dragging her to the water.  Luckily the son of one of the couples had a shotgun and managed to shoot the croc.

The second incident was a man snorkeling when a saltie grabbed onto his shoulder and started the death roll.  Experts believe that the man, in his struggle, managed to stick his arm far enough down the croc’s throat that it disrupted the croc’s glottis.  The glottis is a flap in the throat that allows a croc to have it’s mouth open underwater without drowning.  If this flap is breached, water flows into the croc’s lungs just as it does for his victims.  The croc released the man and would have bit down on him again but the man’s wife managed to pull him out of the water before it could. 

One amazing discovery about croc’s is that they are immune to virus and disease.  Blood was taken and dosed with different virus that were deadly to humans – within 12 hours the blood had built up an immunity to even the toughest virus.  Cool, huh?

Anyway, I loved watching about them – it was so interesting! It makes me wonder why I don’t subscribe to National Geographic.  🙂

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