Crocodiles lay eggs -- and plenty of them -- as part of the reproduction cycle. A female American crocodile may lay between 30 and 60 eggs, which she keeps safe in a nest that she digs in the ground. This open-air nest then is packed loosely with dirt and covered in rotting vegetation, which helps incubate the eggs until they are ready to hatch.
Incubation and Mortality
While crocodiles can lay several dozen eggs at a time, not all of them last through the incubation period. Environmental factors, like predation and flooding, take their toll, and as few as 20 percent or so of the eggs are likely to hatch. Even then, only one of four hatched offspring survive to see the age of four. The eggs incubate in the mother's nest for two to three months, and when they are ready to hatch, they begin calling to their mother from inside their eggs, alerting her to be ready for their arrival so she can protect them.
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Tom Ryan is a freelance writer, editor and English tutor. He graduated from the University of Pittsburgh with a degree in English writing, and has also worked as an arts and entertainment reporter with "The Pitt News" and a public relations and advertising copywriter with the Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh.