Crocodile Stomach Stones

Discussion in 'Articles' started by observe, Jun 27, 2020.

  1. observe

    observe AH ENABLER CONTRIBUTOR AH Legend

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    Interesting story borrowed from...Herman Labuschagne

    The crocodile stones.
    The vast majority of people on earth will have no idea what these stones are. And given a thousand guesses, they will probably not guess right either.
    These stones have been in my family's possession for a very long time. For as long as I can remember, they have been kept in a shotgun shell box in my father's steel cabinet, which used to be his father's cabinet, and which is now mine.
    When I was a little boy my father used to sometimes go through his things at night, and then show them to me.
    "You remember what these are, right?"
    And I would nod.
    "They're crocodile stones."
    "Yes, they are."
    Taken from the stomach of a crocodile. We believed that crocodiles would swallow a small amount of stones, like ostriches and chickens do, probably in order to aid with their digestion.
    Since crocodile stomachs contain very powerful acids, any limestone-containing stones will eventually dissolve.
    Granitic or sandstone types, however, are gradually ground until they are smooth and lovely to the touch.
    I vaguely recall hearing that superstitious people believe crocodile stones have magic qualities. We, of course, don't believe such nonsense.
    To us they were not curious novelties that you could show to someone who has seen everything before - except this one thing.

    Crocodiles have always played an important role in the magic superstitions of primitive people.
    Even since the Egyptian times. Where I came from the Zulus believed that the gall of a crocodile was a viciously potent poison. For this reason my grandfather always insisted on being present at skinning until the gall bladder could be removed and handed to him. He would then safely dispose of it. Otherwise the Zulus would be quick to sell it to the witchdoctors, who would then put it to evil use.

    Another interesting old Zulu belief involves the eye of a crocodile.
    It was said in old Zululand that if a young man wanted to attract the affections of a certain maiden, he would wear the dried eye of a crocodile on a string around his neck. For, "as the eye of the crocodile draws a pretty little doe to the water's edge, so the eye around his neck will draw a maiden also."

    As for the foot on which the stones are now displayed - that is, of course the foot of an ostrich.


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  2. huntermn15

    huntermn15 AH Fanatic

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    A bit like gastroliths from dinosaurs. I had no idea that crocs had them. Thanks for sharing the story.
     
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  3. IvW

    IvW AH ENABLER AH Legend

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    Great trophy's....
     
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  4. Bruce

    Bruce AH Elite

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    I kept the stones from my croc hunted in Tanzania... Legend has it that you COULD be lucky and find a diamond or other precious stone amongst them.. Unfortunately, mine did not.
     
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  5. CAustin

    CAustin AH ENABLER BRONZE SUPPORTER AH Ambassador

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    Great story. Thanks for sharing!
     

  6. fourfive8

    fourfive8 AH Elite

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    Very interesting and thanks for sharing- very cool! I had heard that gators and crocs carried them but have never seen them or handled them from gators/crocs. Birds of most all varieties have them. I remember my parents opening and cleaning chicken gizzards since age 5. I liked to study the various small pebbles in their gizzards- some were well worn and polished. People look at you like you have three eyeballs in your forehead if you bring the subject up. Most people can handle a larger gizzard or stomach stone and never guess its origin. They really give you the ya right eye roll if you say, "feel this stone, it is a gastrolith that came out of the stomach of a dinosaur". :D:D

    Very difficult to describe until you handle them and compare. They don't feel like stones that been in a rock polisher nor do they feel like stones polished in a river. They are not glossy shiny really but they are not dull either. The best description is they appear to have a smooth even luster and a somewhat "waxy" feel I guess. As I'm typing this I am looking at a couple of gastroliths I found that are sitting on my desk.
     
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  7. Edge

    Edge AH Fanatic

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    I didn’t know about “croc stones”, thank you for sharing the information!

    Now I want to hunt a crocodile!
     

  8. IvW

    IvW AH ENABLER AH Legend

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    Few people are aware that bull elephants, particularly old ones, often have a small piece of wood stuck in the temporal gland. This happens when the elephant is in musth and the temporal gland expands. The elephants often rub it on a stick due to irritation and often a piece breaks off. When it returns to the original size the piece remains embedded. It is regarded as strong muthi by locals and is very seldom presented to a client. I always have my skinner's check and if present present it to the client.

    Nature is awesome.....
     
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  9. Rob404

    Rob404 AH ENABLER BRONZE SUPPORTER AH Legend

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    I also heard that Crocs swallow stones to act as a ballast to help them stay submerged
     

  10. Bearbait1

    Bearbait1 AH Member

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    That sounds like a reasonable explanation.
     

  11. observe

    observe AH ENABLER CONTRIBUTOR AH Legend

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    Remarkable similarities to Ostrich [sort of,,,]

    T-Rex footprint at Philmont Scout Ranch in New Mexico - The print is 86 cm long and from the Late Cretaceous.
    The size of this individual is estimated to be 11.4 m ( 37.4 ft) and weighted 5.8 to 6.9 tons. Discovered by Paleontologist Charles Pillmore in 1983.
    106507564_614947726123372_939862661471944554_n.jpg
     

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