Why do crocodiles cry?

Believe it or not, crocodiles do actually shed tears from time to time


You may have heard the phrase ‘crying crocodile tears’, referring to someone who weeps without sincerity, but crocodiles do actually cry. This is not for emotional release, but for more practical reasons. Crocodiles have a third eyelid, known as a nictitating membrane, which keeps the eye protected while they’re under water hunting for a meal. This membrane needs to be topped up with moisture as a form of lubricant when it becomes dry, and this is when they start to produce the ‘tears’ from behind the eyelid. The tears can sometimes run down the crocodile’s face, making it look like the animal is crying. Because crocodiles spend so much of their time under water, the tears are very hard to spot.


Get more animals every month with World of Animals for only £3.99, or get a great deal by subscribing online today.

Image from www.flickr.com/photos/stuutje


Photograph: Ravi Jandhyala