Flood Season: Time When River Nile Crocodiles Parade Their Vicious Jaws

Flood Season: Time When River Nile Crocodiles Parade Their Vicious Jaws

By: Rogia al-Shafee

KHARTOUM (Sudanow) - The Khartoum State’s civil defense authority has cautioned the citizens not to go closer to the  River Nile or swim in it, citing that the River has reached flood levels and that wild crocodiles and deadly snakes have been seen in and around the river.

Some venturesome persons may not heed the danger of river waters during the rainy season.

But the presence of the Nile crocodile is not something to play with. It is the most dangerous and hostile of crocodiles, with its  sharp skin scales that cover its body. It can grow up from a few to ten meters in length. Its mouth is full of sharp conic teeth that can pierce in the flesh of its prey in a bite incomparable to any of the other wild beasts.

The Nile croc can hunt down any human or animal in its surroundings, and is known for its patience and its ability to watch out and wait for the right time when the target comes within its attacking range to close its hard jaws on it and drag it into the water.

Although the number of the Nile crocodile population had dwindled in recent times due to the destruction of their habitats by the construction of dams added to the increasing noise of modern life, yet they did not disappear altogether, cropping up from time to time.

An example of this was last February when Farmer Mohammad Fadlalmawla managed to hunt down a giant five meter long croc and fifty centimeters wide in the Hajar Al’asal locality of the Nahir Alneel State, Northern Sudan.

Hajar Al’asal's croc

This croc had used to emerge and disappear in the area for a long time, causing panic among the area’ s citizens after it devoured two persons and a number of sheep. Then Famer Mohammad decided to rid the district from its trouble and kept watching for it for three weeks until he managed to gun it down, causing it  to precipitate to the bottom of the river. Because of its big size, Mohammad had to call for assistance. Twenty two persons came forward and tied the beast with iron chains and thick ropes and hauled it to the river bank.

In October 2019 some locals from the Jeraif area in Northern Sudan managed to hunt a huge Nile crocodile after it caused panic and threatened the life of the citizens and their livestock.

In 2014 three huge crocodiles showed up at the lake of the White Nile Jebel Awwlia Dam South of here, causing panic among the local population.

Seven years before that some areas on the Nile banks had seen wild Nile crocs in what was then called ‘Revolt of the Hungry Crocodiles.’

A croc hunted in the White Nile 

Sudanow, in a probe in the world of crocodiles, their characteristics, the uses of their different parts and their relation with the Sudanese heritage, has tapped some sources in some parts of the country:

The beginning was from the Blue Nile district of the southeast of the country that neighbors Ethiopia.

Mr. Esam Omar Ibrahim, president of the Blue Nile State contractors association, has said there were not too many crocodiles in that area, but expected more of them might appear in the area after water from the Ethiopian Renaissance Dam lake flows into the creeks and ponds of the area.

Mr. Esam has attributed the scarcity of crocodiles in his area to the fact that these beasts do not usually live in steep plains for fear of being seen and hunted. But crocodile hunting is still a lovable hobby of the Blue Nile district dwellers.

The crocodile meat is taken by that area’s inhabitants as food and medicine. Whenever the inhabitants hear about a crocodile being caught, they hurry to the place to buy its parts, usually at high prices, beginning from the nails up to the tongue.

The croc skins make the best of handcrafts, in particular handbags and shoes. Croc skin is also manufactured into heritage clothes worn during dances and during religious rituals.

But Zoologist, Professor Mohammad Abdalla Alrayyah has falsified the belief that croc meat can cure from impotence and infertility in men. This is just a superstition, he said.

Professor of Veterinary Medicine, Dr. Tariq Akar considered the croc one of the old reptiles that appeared on Earth more than a million years back. It lives in water and moves to the dry land to lay its eggs and enjoy sun heat. It favors living on islands and remote river banks away from the eyes of hunters.

The croc has a thick skin covered in a grouper from a horny substance. It has a flattened tail that helps it to swim. On its nose there is a protruding that helps hunters to hook it.

Here Dr. Tariq has revealed that his grandfather Ukair Aldamar, the famous folk poet, was one of the most famous croc hunters in Sudan, using a gun whose bullets can hit the beast inside the water, hitting the protrusion on the nose. Poet Ukair had used to hunt crocs to sell their skins and meat. He had a tannery for the croc hides. 

Dr. Tariq has said there are 14 species of crocodiles, divided into two categories, one that lives in fresh water and another that lives in saline water.

But the most famous of these is the Nile crocodile, which is called the real crocodile by some people. The Nile croc lives in Sudan and the African Nile Basin countries. It lays about 80 eggs, usually near the white ants houses to benefit from the heat emitted by the ants. The Nile croc lives for over a hundred years, while the Indian and American crocs live for about 80 years.

The Nile croc weighs 220-500 kilograms while the Indian croc weights 800 KGM. This helps the Nile croc with high speed as compared to the other two species.

The Nile croc grows to between 4-5 meters, equal to its American counterpart. However, there are Nile crocs that grow to more than ten meters. This is what is known in Sudan as the Ushary croc (a derivation from the Arabic word ashara=ten).

One natural characteristic of the croc is that its tongue is stuck in its jaw, never moving.

The croc stores fats in its tail for times of need. This helps it to tolerate hunger for a long time.

Mr. Abdalla Alhaj,  who hails from Nubia in the far North of the country,  is telling Sudanow that as young children they used to hear their seniors name crocs and other Nile creatures as (the water people).

“We used to see crocs asleep on distant islands and when a boat draws closer to them, they quickly crawl into the Nile water,” he said.

The croc hits its prey with its tail and then holds it with its teeth and pulls it into the water.

Croc images were found in the homes of ancient Nubia just like in the case of images of lions and the sun, a representation of a strength that can also be worshiped.

Lake Nasir in the far north of the country is becoming a favorite habitat of crocodiles.

The locals consider the crocodile to be very weak outside the water. They also believe that the croc cannot harm a person who rides on its back. 

The croc is present very much in the Sudanese arts and cultural heritage, in particular in verse that glorifies courage and heroism. Here, a brave man is given one of the crocs’ many names used in the local culture.

Despite their danger, Zoologist Mohammad Abdalla Alrayyah has  warned against the mass killing of the Nile crocodiles. “Crocs do not reach the people in the offices or houses. It is people who reach crocs in their water habitats, so why kill them randomly?” he asks.

Dr. Alrayyah has disclosed that the Blue and While Niles crocs are threatened with extinction due to random poaching in search of their skins.

He urged the government to contact the World crocodile conservation project in Rome to help with equipment that facilitate catching crocs alive and taking them away from human dwelling areas.



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Sudanow is the longest serving English speaking magazine in the Sudan. It is chartarized by its high quality professional journalism, focusing on political, social, economic, cultural and sport developments in the Sudan. Sudanow provides in depth analysis of these developments by academia, highly ...


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