||Subtropical and tropical/
Saltwater swamps and rivers
||Very rare to common
||1 to 2-12
||6, Sw 12
||6, Sw 12
|No. of Attacks:
||L (8'-15' long)
||H (21'-30' long)
The crocodile is a large, dangerous predatory reptile native to tropical and
subtropical climes. It spends most of its time submerged in swamps, rivers, or
other large bodies of water.
The crocodile is one of the most feared and ugliest predators of the tropics.
It has a long, squat body, ranging in size from a scant foot to well over ten
feet long. Most mature specimens range from eight to 15 feet long, and some even
larger. Many sages argue that crocodiles never stop growing. The crocodile has
a long jaw filled with sharp, conical teeth. The powerful maw is superbly
adapted for dragging prey beneath the water and dismembering it. Its four short
legs are very powerful, and can propel the crocodile rapidly through the water and
over the land. Its long tail is also very strong and is sometimes used on land
to unbalance its foes.
The crocodile is covered with a tough horny hide, which blends in very well
with the surrounding water. Its eyes and nose are placed so that when the
crocodile floats, only they remain above water, enabling the beast to spot and ambush
prey. The crocodile is adept at floating through the water and remaining quite
still, presenting the illusion that it is nothing more than a floating log.
Ever voracious, hungry crocodiles will attack anything that looks edible,
including men. They prefer to lie in wait for their prey (-2 penalty to opponent's
surprise roll), and are exceedingly sensitive to movements in the water. They
have been known to swiftly and silently swim up to the shore and seize a man,
dragging him below the surface of the water. They prefer to attack with their
powerful jaws, causing 2d4 points of damage, and lash with their tails for 1d12
points of damage. Crocodiles will fight among themselves for any prey they
seize in their jaws, sometimes tearing their victim to pieces. The only thing that
can slow a crocodile is cold. They become slow and sluggish (reduced to 50% of
their normal movement) when the temperature falls below 40 F.
Crocodiles sometimes congregate in large numbers, but they are not by nature
sociable, nor do they cooperate in hunting. They have well-concealed lairs and
will often drag their prey to their lairs before eating it. When a tasty morsel
comes its way, a group of crocodiles will go into a feeding frenzy, each
attempting to get a part of the feast. They hunt almost daily, primarily in the
water, rarely on land. Their tastes are broad: fish, men, small mammals, aquatic
birds, and even a careless lion has occasionally been known to fall into their
grasp. Hungry crocodiles will sometimes upend boats to see what falls out.
Crocodiles mate once a year, and the female lays a clutch of about 60 eggs,
carefully burying them in the sand. Unlike many other reptiles, the female
carefully guards her eggs, protecting them from other predators. When the time comes
for the eggs to hatch, the mother assists by digging the eggs out of the sand.
The newly hatched young are thrown entirely on their own resources to survive.
Very few of the young survive to maturity.
Swamps and rivers are not the only abode of the crocodile. In recent years
there have been dreadful rumors that some of these reptiles have made their homes
in the sewers of cities in tropical regions, living on waste and carrion.
The crocodile is a formidable predator and has little competition for food
from other water creatures. One of the few monsters that can compete with it is
the dragonturtle. Even on the riverbanks it has little to fear from rival
predators; most would prefer not to tangle with a crocodile. The only predator that
the crocodile need fear is man, who hunts it for its tough hide, which can be
transformed into a beautiful, gleaming leather. Crocodiles are also hunted to
eliminate the danger that they represent to riverside communities.
These creatures are far rarer than their smaller cousins. They attain sizes
from 21 to 30 feet long, and they also continue to grow until death. Giant
crocodiles typically inhabit salt water or prehistoric settings, where they have been
know to prey upon sharks, small whales, and small seagoing crafts, such as
fishing boats. When attacking a small boat, their favorite technique is to ram it,
attempting to capsize and smash it open with their huge jaws. They have been
known to gorge upon the catch within the fishing boats, and then to swim away,
leaving the fishermen unharmed.
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