Criminy, do I LOVE crocodiles! So when I heard that Portland's Oregon Museum of Science and Industry (OMSI) was showing a special exhibit called "When Crocodiles Ruled," I nearly flipped my croco-lid!

When you first arrive at the exhibit, there's a giant clock--and it's spinning backwards, time warping you to 65 million years ago! That was the time right after the dinosaurs became extinct, when the earth was ravaged by swamps and giant mosquitos. A special group of scientists, called paleontologists, found the ancient bones of at least 70 crocodiles in the North Dakota badlands--criminy, that's a LOT of croc! Then the scientists pieced together the bones and other fossils they found like an enormous jigsaw puzzle--a jigsaw of LIFE! Then they made huge dioramas of what the earth looked like 65 million years ago--when crocodiles ruled. ARGH!

Crocodiles today are a lot like crocodiles back then, and most animals know better than to pick a fight with the ferocious croc--whose sharp, gnashing teeth are the size of your thumb! Says Stephen Anderson, OMSI's Science Ambassador, "Dinosaurs used to pick on them a lot, so they have awesome armor. Today, there are no predators to the crocodile except man. But crocodiles respect hippos, elephants, and maybe a few rhino here and there." Brrrrrr! Can you imagine a fight between a croc and a rhino? That's one rumble I wouldn't want front-row seats for!

When you see the crocodile's jaw up close at OMSI, you'll know why most animals leave them alone! Crocodile, with its long teeth and snout, has the strongest bite of any animal--stronger than a hyena's or a lion's! If that isn't scary enough, the crocodile doesn't chew its food; forget about manners, it swallows food whole. Stephen Anderson says, "A croc couldn't even bite off the tip of a carrot. He could swallow your arm whole--but he couldn't bite a carrot." At OMSI's exhibit, you can watch a video of two crocs tearing the flesh from their next meal: a baby pig! CRIMINY, they just swallow it whole! And after a croc eats a meal, it can go a very long time without eating again (especially after a meal of live pork rinds)! Some of the biggest crocs can even go TWO years. Lilly-loo lizards! That's a lot of pork!

This has been Crocodile Pat, reporting on the things I love most: CROCODILES! Until next time auf Wiedersehen!