Monday, June 18, 2012

Tail of a young Nile crocodile

Tail of a young Nile crocodile (Crocodylus niloticus), showing osteoderms (bony scale-like plates). These osteoderms, comprised of the protein keratin, form a protective armour on a crocodile's upper surfaces. These plated, armoured skin areas are shed in patches and replaced as the crocodile grows. This crocodile is a carnivorous predator that inhabits tropical and subtropical areas of Africa, near swamps, lakes and rivers. The young, become independent at the age of two years. Photographed in 2011, at the Pierrelatte crocodile farm (La Ferme aux Crocodiles) in southern France.

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