General information on crocodiles

Revered in ancient Egypt, sacred in many African villages, hunted for their skin and their meat, crocodiles are seemingly omnipresent and are feared, respected and demonised in equal measure. With their prehistoric look, these animals with huge mouths and terrifyingly sharp teeth seem to have been designed to scare us! Yet despite our fears, our trembling and our terror, young and old alike are keen to find out more about these fascinating reptiles. Put your prejudices and your fears aside as you take a tour of our hothouse to find out more about the incredible world of reptiles.

What is a crocodile ?
A “crocodile” is the name commonly given to the 24 existing crocodilian species which are found in the planet’s warm regions. The crocodilian order is made up of 3 families:

  • Crocodylidae, which includes “true” crocodiles
  • Alligatoridae, which includes alligators and caimans
  • Gavialidae, which includes gharials and false gharials

Crocodiles are tetrapods (they have four limbs), oviparous (egg-laying) and ectothermic; this means that their body temperature changes, depending on their environment. The crocodile spends most of its time regulating its body temperature to reach 30°!

How have these animals outlived their dinosaur cousins?
How do they stay so still?
Are they super predators or vulnerable prey?
What’s special about crocodile skin? What does it mean to cry crocodile tears?

Be on the lookout and let your senses come alive as you observe our crocodile species!


Chinese alligator – Chichi

Spectacled caiman – Potter

Nile crocodile – Schwarzie

African dwarf crocodile – Passe-partout and Mimi

Morelet’s crocodile – Tequila

American alligator – John

False gharial – Tommy

Gharial – Pinocchio

Albino American alligator – Albi