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Crocodile Park








        Leaping into a pit containing five crocodiles is not   however, which is possible at Torremolinos but not
        something most people would consider as part of their   recommended in the wild, reveals glaring differences.
        job description even if three of the reptiles were less   Alligators have wide ‘U’ shaped snouts while a
        than four metres long. Grabbing the largest by the tail   crocodiles’ snout is more pointed and ‘V’ shaped. When
        seems plain foolhardy, if not suicidal, especially with his   their snouts are closed, crocodiles have toothy grins as
        four friends looking on. And twisting its tail is just asking   the fourth tooth on the lower jaw protrudes over the
        for trouble. Or is it?                              upper lip. Alligators have upper jaws broader than the
        The guide at the Crocodile Park at Torremolinos is a   lower, so all their teeth are hidden when the mouth is
        walking encyclopaedia about crocs and alligators. It   closed. Crocodiles generally live in saltwater habitats
        transpires that a crocodile would prefer to take to the   while alligators live in freshwater rivers and lakes. If your
        water than be pestered on land. The guide did not go   crocodile has a long, narrow, jaw and two bulbous
        swimming.                                           nostrils at the end then it is the third member of the
        The Crocodile Park at Torremolinos has about 300    crocodile family, a gharial, only found in India. Gharials
        crocodiles including one weighing 600 kg and nearly   are said to feed solely on fish, and are up to six metres
        five metres in length, the largest in Europe, touchingly   long with one-third of that being jaws with 110 teeth and
        called ‘Paco’.                                      they are easily the scariest looking crocodile on the
        If you were unfortunate enough to come face to face   planet.
        with a crocodile or alligator, you would probably only   At the park, the different species occupy separate
        notice a mouth full of serrated teeth                 compounds, each with its pond and islands on which
        and not worry to which family                               the crocs spend much of their time basking in
        they belonged. Closer                                         the sun. The warmer they are, the livelier they
        inspection,                                                   become, until it all gets too much and they
                                                                      take to the water to cool off. You will see
                                                                               some on land with their jaws wide
                                                                               apart displaying all their fearsome
                                                                                 teeth. Like dogs they have no
                                                                                   sweat glands so can cool
                                                                                   down a little by panting.
                                                                                    Mentioning jaws, the muscles
                                                                                       that open the jaws are
                                                                                           feeble and, even in a
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