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From the croc that terrorized Captain Hook in Peter Pan to the leviathans depicted in films like Lake Placid and Dicroc, innumerable songs, stories and legends have characterized crocodilians as pitiless predators with insatiable appetites. Yet although we commonly associate crocodiles, alligators and gharials with ferocity and deceit, they have also often been respected and revered in human history. Crocodile tracks 23 crocodilian species from India and Egypt to North America, Africa, Australia and beyond, and compares what science has discovered about the lives of these reptiles with their depictions in myth, art and literature around the world. Crocodiles were all but wiped out in the middle of the twentieth century by hunters and skin traders and are w making a comeback; as apex predators, they are today an increasingly important indicator of the health of an ecosystem. Indeed, they may outlive humans, just as they did the disaurs. Presenting a concise, cogent case for why we should respect these fearsome animals, this beautifully illustrated volume is a tribute to one of the world's ultimate survivors.
Dan Wylie is Professor of English at Rhodes University, Grahamstown, South Africa.