Booktalking "Crocodile Safari" by Jim Arnosky
Crocodiles existed in the time of dinosaurs. In some countries in Central America, crocs are an endangered species. This is the story of one couple's search for knowledge about the ancient creatures in the Everglades of Florida. They were able to see, photograph and videotape 20 crocs, including a one-foot long baby crocodile (adults are between eight and eleven feet long). It is difficult to see crocs even when they are present, since crocs like to camouflage into their environments.
Crocs are not the only animals that inhabit the Everglades. Rattlesnakes, manatees, iguanas, snakes, lizards and a variety of birds also live there. One must also be wary of the poison wood trees, which will burn any skin that it comes into contact with.
Crocs have between 80 and 120 teeth, which they can replace until they grow old. Toothless crocs can still hunt and eat prey. These reptiles are nocturnal and they hunt at night, so Deanna and Jim did their research during the day. Crocs eat mostly fish, but they will eat anything that they can catch, including raccoons. They are ambush predators; they hide and then strike at the most opportune moment to catch their prey off guard.
There are cool maps of the Everglades in Florida on the inside of the front and back covers. The illustrations in the book are vivid, simple and breath-taking with complimentary color combinations. The labeling of the wildlife depicted in the the pictures was informative and unique. There is even a song about crocs at the end of the book.
I went on an alligator or crocodile safari on the east coast of Australia while I was there. Nowadays, I would be too chicken to attempt such an adventure, but at the time, I was young, and it was interesting to see the reptiles that were pointed out to us by our guide. Also, our boat was neat.
- Jim Arnosky's web site
- National Parks Conservation Association crocodile facts
- Books about crocodiles