[Gk.] A large and fierce animal found in the Nile and other rivers of Africa, also in Asia and America. It grows to 16 or 18 feet in length. The mouth of the crocodile has no lips to cover its strong teeth, which are firmly set in pits in the jaw, with a new tooth started below the root of each tooth. The fourth tooth in the lower jaw is longer than the other teeth, and when the mouth is closed it reaches up over the upper jaw. The crocodile bird enters its mouth in pursuit of insects which infest its mouth. The hide of the crocodile is tough, and is composed of plates of bone covered with horny scales. Its tail is useful in swimming, and also in the capture of its prey. It strikes large animals with it, and by it holds them under the water till they drown. Its neck is wanting in flexibility, and so it has much difficulty in turning. Its eggs are laid in the sand, and hatched by the heat of the sun. Alligators are like crocodiles, but they are smaller, and their feet are not so completely webbed, and they are found only in American waters.