Crocodiles Are reptiles.
Crocodiles are the largest of the approximately 9,500 species of reptiles that currently inhabit this planet. Like all other reptiles, crocodiles are cold-blooded. This doesn’t mean that a crocodile’s blood is actually cold to the touch. It means that crocodiles rely upon the environment to regulate their body temperatures.
In a very warm environment, the blood of a cold-blooded reptile like the crocodile will be much hotter than warm-blooded animals. On the other hand, crocodiles are sluggish in cold environments, becoming more active as the ambient temperature rises.
The Advantages to Being a Reptile
Crocodiles, like all reptiles, don’t need to eat as much warm-blooded animals because they don’t need to generate body heat. Generating body heat requires a great deal of energy. Most of the food a warm-blooded animal eats is converted into food rather than body mass.
Since crocodiles don’t use their food to generate the energy necessary to maintain a constant body temperature, they don’t need to eat as much as warm-blooded animals. They can also go for far longer periods of time without food.
Reptiles only have rudimentary immune systems because they don’t really need immune systems. Crocodiles and other reptiles are also far less susceptible to the infections and other diseases caused or transmitted by viruses, bacteria and parasites. These tiny creatures prefer warmer environments. When crocodiles do catch infections, they often seek out colder environments in order to lower their own body temperatures and kill the responsible microorganisms.
The Disadvantages to Being a Reptile
Reptiles like crocodiles can hardly move in colder environments. They don’t have enough energy to hunt or reproduce. Crocodiles and other reptiles must live in environments that are warm enough to maintain their metabolisms. They would have difficulties surviving in many of the environments that warm-blooded animals adapt to easily.
“Crocodilian Biology Database – Morphology.” Crocodilians: Natural History and Conservation – Crocodiles, Caimans, Alligators, Gharials. N.p., n.d. Web. 9 Nov. 2012. http://crocodilian.com/cnhc/cbd-mor.htm
“Species Statistics February 2012.” THE REPTILE DATABASE. N.p., n.d. Web. 9 Nov. 2012. http://www.reptile-database.org/db-info/SpeciesStat.html