Crocs Ancient Predators in a Modern World opens February 3
December 4, 2017
A new exhibit opening this winter lets visitors get face-to-snout with live crocodilians, a group of reptiles that has evolved and thrived for 200 million years thanks to their brute strength, keen senses, and murderous instincts. Crocs: Ancient Predators in a Modern World opens Saturday, Feb. 3, 2018 at the Academy of Natural Sciences of Drexel University.
Crocs introduces visitors to one of the most exciting and primal groups of animals through the presentation of amazing live animals, realistic croc models, engaging interactive activities, and informative videos. The exhibit explores the rich and complex lives of alligators, crocodiles, caimans and gharials—their evolutionary history, biology and behavior, and their precarious relationship to people.
“This exhibit is really eye-opening and packed with interesting information and fun experiences,” said Jennifer Sontchi, senior director of exhibits and public spaces. “There’s something for everyone to learn and take away about this fascinating group of animals.”
Crocs: Ancient Predators in a Modern World will be on view through May 6.
A major draw will be the live crocs basking in naturalistic habitats with flowing water, foliage, mood lighting, and other features that keep them thriving and content. The living species include the broad-snouted caiman, American alligator, Siamese crocodile, and West African dwarf crocodile.
And there are plenty of interactive experiences as well. Visitors will:
- Create a 3-D animation of a long-extinct croc
- Learn to speak “croc”
- Use a virtual field notebook to assemble ancient crocs
- Work “The Social Gator” interactive to explore how crocs communicate with sight, sound, smell and touch.
- Manipulate a modified force gauge to test their strength against a croc
Crocodilians have flourished for more than 200 million years. The group once included a rich diversity of forms—from galloping land predators and jumping insect eaters to pug-nosed herbivores and dolphin-like pelagic hunters.
Modern crocs range from diminutive forest dwellers to behemoths that can eat a person. They are specialized as stealthy aquatic predators with rugged bodies, keen senses, and incredible strength. But crocs also live complex social lives. They communicate with a range of sounds and subtle postures, and provide their young with tender parental care.
“One message the exhibit hopes to get across is that in a human-dominated world, the future of crocodilians depends upon our willingness to share space with large predators,” said Sontchi. “We want our visitors to take home the message of conservation and respect for wildlife and to apply it to their own communities.”
Crocs: Ancient Predators in a Modern World was created by Clyde Peeling’s Reptiland in Allenwood, Pa.
The media is invited to an exclusive tour of the exhibit before it opens to the public. The media preview will be 10 a.m. Friday, Feb. 2. (Changed from Feb. 1)