The animal on the cover of Automating Microsoft Azure Infrastructure Services is a saltwater crocodile (Crocodylus porosus), the largest of all living reptiles. Found near the coast of Southeast Asia and northern Australia, a great deal of the cold-blooded saltwater crocodile’s life is spent regulating the temperature of its very large body. If too cold, it will bask on rocks in the sun; if too warm, it submerges most of its body in the water to cool off. Though salties, as they are also called, can be found making this movement between saltwater sea and land, they are also often found in the fresh or brackish water of swamps, estuaries, and rivers.
Saltwater crocodiles are apex predators in their environment, meaning they have no natural predators of their own. They are not picky eaters, catching various fish, invertebrates, birds, or small mammals as opportunities arise. Cooling itself off underwater, the saltie finds opportunities to hunt in abundance: beginning with only its eyes and nostrils above water, the croc makes a powerful lunge into the air after prey that may venture near, usually killing its target with a snap of the jaws.
Crocodile species possess an incomparably strong bite due to large, very hard muscles on either side of a croc’s jaw. In fact, scientists estimate the bite force of extinct species such as dinosaurs against that of modern crocodiles. However, though crocodile jaw muscles are optimally arranged for clamping down on prey, the corresponding ...