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Why You Should Never Make Assumptions about Crocodiles

The Nile crocodile is a dangerous beast. Descended from the dinosaurs, it can grow over 20 feet long and has a bite force of 3,700 pounds per square inch. (Over 3 times greater than a grizzly bear and 10 times greater than a Rottweiler.) It’s a killing machine that is responsible for the deaths of nearly 200 people every year.

But the Nile crocodile also has another fascinating claim to fame. It’s one of the first written examples of how you can’t make assumptions about how people think!

The first historian, Herodotus, recounted how the ancient Egyptians viewed the deadly creature that lurked in their river:

Some Egyptians view them as sacred, while others treat them as enemies. The people who live around Thebes and about the lake of Moiris consider the crocodile so holy that they tame a crocodile, treat it as a god, adorn it with gold ornaments in the ears and around claws, make sacrifices on its behalf and embalm it in holy tombs when they die. On the other hand, the people who live near the city of Elephantine eat them.

Isn’t it fascinating how each group had such a different perspective on the exact same predator? All of those groups lived along the Nile. All were constantly at risk of becoming part of the crocodile’s food chain.Yet each group reacted differently to the threat and viewed the crocodile with a unique perspective.

Just makes you think – what assumptions are we making because of our culture? How might our perspectives change if we talked to people who live just down the river?

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