While a crocodile or alligator may appear clumsy on land, swimming seems effortless for them. It is capable of great speed and agility in the water.
Crocodiles place their limbs against their bodies and propel themselves by swinging their tail from side to side in a wavelike motion. At slow speeds, only the tail moves, and its limbs are used to steer and stabilise it through the water. But as its speed increases, the crocodile folds its limbs against its body and undulates its body from side to side, magnifying the trust force it exerts on the water. It steers by using its head as a rudder.
A crocodile can swim at speeds of up to 29 kph (18mph) over short distances. An alligator swims at 32kph (20mph).
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