Solar Panels On A Croc??
Osteoderms are deposits of bone within the scales of crocodilians. They are most noticeable on the back of crocs looking like armor plating. Protection during fights is one obvious function, but they also act as solar panels for crocs.
As ectothermic creatures (cold blooded), crocodilians rely solely on the environment for their thermoregulation. During the mid morning or late afternoon hours, crocs will lie on the bank and bask to soak up the sun. The back osteoderms have a rich blood supply that will carry the warmth from the sun around the body supplying the croc with energy.
Certain species of crocodilians have osteoderms (deposits of bone) in the belly skin and some do not. Those without have been largely hunted as the skin is highly prized for leather, whereas the skins with high amounts of osteoderms in the belly are not so highly sought after and are considered less valuable.
Osteoderms are not to be confused with the tail scutes which are hardened scales but do not contain any bone. As well as making the croc a more efficient swimmer, they act as solar panels too helping to distribute warmth from the environment around the crocs body.