John T. Willis

Monday, October 19, 2009


When Evelyn and I were doing mission work in Singapore, we spent some time with the Singapore Zoo. One of the most fascinating aspects of the zoo was the Crocodile Show. This is an amazing show. The performers carried crocodiles on their backs. One performer opened the mouth of a crocodile, put his head inside the crocodile's mouth, and dropped a dollar bill on the tongue of the crocodile. A little later, he put his head back in the mouth of the crocodile, and picked the dollar bill with his lips. After the show, Evelyn and I held a crocodile on our laps--if you want to see a picture of this, come to see us, and we will show this to you. Uh-Huh!!! Evelyn and I are TOUGH people.

A crocodile is any species belonging to he family Crocodylidae, and loosely can include alligators, caimans, and gharials, and can include Crocodylomorpha which includes prehistoric crocodile relatives and ancestors. Crocodiles are large aquatic reptiles that lives throughout the tropics in Africa, Asia, the Americas and Australia. Crocodiles tend to congregate in freshwater habitats like rivers, lakes, wetlands and sometimes in brackish water. They feed mostly on vertebrates like fish, reptiles, and mammals. Crocodiles date back to at least 200 million years old, and while dinosaurs became extinct 65 millions years ago, crocodiles continue to survive and prosper.

The word "crocodile" comes from the Ancient Greek word "krokodilios," used in the phrase "the lizard of the Nile river." Crocodiles are among the more biologically complex reptiles despite their prehistoric look. Unlike other reptiles, they incorporate muscles used for aquatic locomotion into respiration, giving them the functional equivalent of a diaphragm, a cerebral cortex, and a four-chambered heart. Crocodiles have a streamlined body that enables them to swim swiftly. Crocodiles tuck their feet to their sides while swimming, making them faster by decreasing water resistance. They have webbed feet which allow it to make fast turns and sudden moves in the water or initiate swimming. Crocodiles have a palatal lap, a rigid tissue at the back of the mouth that blocks the entry of water. The palate has a special path from the nostril to the glottis that bypasses the mouth. The nostrils are closed during submergence. Their tongues are not free but held in place by a membrane which limits movement, so crocodiles are unable to stick out their tongues.

Crocodiles are very swift in water or on land. Their jaws can bite down with immense force--more than 5,000 pounds per square inch, compared with a large great white shark which can bite down at 400 pounds per square inch. Workers tan the hide of crocodiles and use this to make leather goods such as shoes and handbags. Further, we have eaten crocodile meat. It is very tasty.

In Job 41, Yahweh describes a crocodile at length. We will work through this chapter when we get to Job 41 in our study of the Book of Job. The "leviathan" in this chapter is the crocodile. YOU might want to study this chapter in advance.

What experiences have YOU had with crocodiles? Crocodiles are another of God's numerous marvelous creatures on earth. Of course, we human beings must respect crocodiles, but we should also appreciate God's work here.

Let me hear from YOU. Share YOUR thoughts with others.

John Willis


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