We finished reading Jim Arnosky’s Crocodile Safari today.
Some interesting things we learned?
- Crocodiles are not the only dangerous things in the mangrove swamp. Also beware of diamondback rattle snakes and poisonwood trees
- Those large jaws are full of teeth! Humans have 28-32 teeth but crocs have 80 to 120 teeth!
- Toothless crocodiles exist but still beware! These crocodiles still have powerful jaws that can crush bones!
- Crocodiles can be huge! In the U.S.A. they might be up to 15 feet (almost 5 m) long but in Madagascar there are crocodiles up to 30 feet (over 9 m) long! These are the largest living reptiles in the world. Wow!
Crocodile Safari comes with a DVD that features Jim Arnosky discussing the differences between alligators and crocodiles and how important these differences are to a wildlife illustrator. At the end of the DVD, Mr. Arnosky gives us a drawing lesson. We watched this part twice! All of us brought paper, pencils, crayons and pencil crayons to the carpet to work on our crocodile drawings! Notice the scaly skin and lumps and bumps.
Arnosky showed us how to draw the mangrove roots at the side of the water where the crocs like to lurk unnoticed amongst the roots and branches. He mentioned that he likes drawing the mangrove trees because they seem like upside down trees. We learned that water birds sense when the crocs are not hungry and then it is safe to perch near them.
Jenifer has done a fantastic job of showing how large the teeth can be in a croc’s jaws. Inside the book there is a page with pictures of lifesize crocodile teeth. Some teeth were longer than our little fingers! Yikes! Suddenly those teeth seemed all the more real!
Crocodiles have long narrow snouts. We can see all of their teeth even when their jaws are closed. Alyson has done a lovely job of showing the shape of the croc’s head and all of its large sharp teeth. Many students brought their drawings home to share with family.
What fascinating creatures!
Students are already requesting more books by Jim Arnosky!