Crocodiles Rushby Fernando Vieira
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ABOUT THE ART
Crocodiles are the most social of reptiles. Even though they do not form social groups, many species congregate in certain section of a rivers, tolerating each other at times of feeding and basking. Most species are not highly territorial, with the exception of the saltwater crocodile, which is a highly territorial and aggressive species. A mature male will not tolerate any other males at any time of the year. Most of the species, however, are more flexible. There is a certain form of hierarchy in crocodiles, where the largest and heaviest males are at the top, having access to the best basking site, females and priority during a group feeding of a big kill or carcass. A good example of the hierarchy in crocodiles would be the case of the Nile crocodile. This species clearly displays all of these behaviors. Studies in this area are not thorough, and many species are yet to be studied in greater detail. Mugger crocodiles are also known to show toleration in group feedings and tend to congregate in certain areas. However, males of all species are aggressive towards each other during mating season, to gain access to females.
Crocodiles are also the most vocal of all reptiles, producing a wide variety of sounds during various situations and conditions, depending on species, age, size and sex. Depending on the context, some species can communicate over 20 different messages through vocalizations alone. Some of these vocalizations are made during social communication, especially during territorial displays towards the same sex and courtship with the opposite sex; the common concern being reproduction. Therefore most conspecific vocalization is made during the breeding season, with the exception being year-round territorial behavior in some species and quarrels during feeding. Crocodiles also produce different distress calls and in aggressive displays to their own kind and other animals; notably other predators during interspecific predatory confrontations over carcasses and terrestrial kills.