What Do Crocodiles Eat – You won’t believe the animals it eat!!!

Crocodiles are dinosaur like reptiles with lizard like bodies. They are the largest and heaviest reptiles. If you are looking for information on What Do Crocodiles Eat, you have just come to the right place. We have gathered complete information on Crocodiles Diet and listed down all the animals that are part of it. Furthermore, you are going to learn the diet of different crocodile species, how much, when and how they eat, whether they eat humans or not and many other interesting facts about the Crocodiles diet.

What Do Crocodiles Eat

Crocodiles are obligate carnivores and eat the flesh of other animals as their primary diet. They eat

  • insects
  • fish
  • amphibians (frogs, toads, etc)
  • reptiles (lizards, snakes, etc)
  • small aquatic invertebrates (crustaceans and mollusks)
  • birds
  • and small mammals.

They are also known for cannibalism and the large individuals eat smaller ones. Their diet varies greatly, which depends on their species, size, and age. Within the same species, diet also varies greatly with size and age.

Crocodiles are also known to be scavengers, who aggressively eat carrion and steal food from other predators. Evidence suggests that crocodiles also eat fruits which are based on the discovery of seeds from their stool and stomach.

What Do Crocodiles Eat

What Do Saltwater Crocodiles Eat

Like most other species of crocodiles, saltwater crocodiles are not choosy eaters, and their diet changes readily according to their availability. Saltwater crocodiles hunt the widest range of prey than any other modern crocodilian because of their size and distribution. Hatchlings eat smaller animals like small aquatic invertebrates, small fish, frogs, and insects.

Juveniles eat a great variety of freshwater and saltwater fish, various types of amphibians, crustaceans (shrimps, squids, and octopus), molluscs (snails and slugs), other reptiles (such as lizards and snakes), birds, and mammals of small to medium size. As the crocodile gets bigger, the variety of its diet also becomes greater. However, they eat smaller prey throughout their lifetime.

Adult saltwater crocodiles eat a large variety of invertebrates, fish, reptiles, birds, and mammals. The large animals they eat include wild boar, Malayan tapirs, sambar deer, dingoes, tigers, orangutans, and humans. They are also known for eating water buffalo, gaur, and banteng.

What Do Nile Crocodiles Eat

The Nile crocodile is an apex predator of its habitat range. It mainly eats fish. However, it will attack and eat anything unlucky that crosses its path. Their diet includes invertebrates (crabs, snails, etc), small vertebrates (frogs, toads, turtles, rodents, and small birds), and large vertebrates like birds, porcupines, impala, bushbuck, wild dogs, buffalos, zebras, small hippos, and even other crocodiles. They are also scavengers and eat carrion.

Crocodiles Eating iguana

What Do Freshwater Crocodiles Eat

Freshwater crocodiles eat a wide variety of invertebrates and vertebrates. 

Insects (both aquatic and terrestrial) are the most common food item they eat. Besides insects, fish made a major part of their diet. Other animals they eat are crustaceans, spiders, frogs, turtles, lizards, snakes, birds, and mammals. They usually hunt smaller prey, with an average size of less than 2 cm². However, they also hunt large animals like waterbirds and wallabies. Freshwater crocodiles are also known to be cannibalistic and the larger individuals sometimes eat hatchlings. In captivity, the hatchlings are fed with grasshoppers and crickets. While the juveniles are fed with mice. 

What Do Cuban Crocodiles Eat

Young Cuban crocodiles eat invertebrates and small fish. Adult individuals eat fish, turtles, and small mammals. They also eat birds as well as arboreal mammals (mammals living in trees, such as monkeys) from the overhanging branches of trees. In captivity, they are fed with crocodile pellets, rabbits, rats, and sometimes fish. 

What Do Crocodiles Eat In Africa

Five species of crocodiles are found in Africa. These are:

Nile crocodile (Crocodylus niloticus), mainly eats fish but will also attack and eat almost any animal that crosses its path, such as birds, porcupines, zebras, small hippos, and even other crocodiles.

West African crocodiles (Crocodylus suchus) eat fish, frogs and toads, birds, lizards, and a wide range of mammals.

West African slender-snouted crocodiles (Mecistops cataphractus) mainly eat fish and small crustaceans. They also attack and eat small mammals like water chevrotain when it is drinking water from the river edge. 

Central African slender-snouted crocodiles (Mecistops leptorhynchus) also mainly eat fish, amphibians, and crustaceans.

African Dwarf crocodiles (Osteolaemus tetraspis) eat insects, crabs, frogs, and toads. They will also eat fish, reptiles like lizards and snakes, and small mammals. 

What Do Crocodiles Eat In Australia

Saltwater and freshwater crocodiles are the two main crocodile species found in Australia.

Saltwater crocodiles eat the widest range of prey, from small invertebrates to large mammals including water buffalo, wild boar, and Malayan tapirs. 

Freshwater crocodiles mainly eat insects and fish. Other animals they eat include crustaceans, spiders, and other invertebrates as well as small reptiles, birds, and mammals.

How Often Do Crocodiles Eat

Crocodiles are cold-blooded animals (ectotherms) and have a very slow metabolism, which allows them to survive for a long period without food. Being ectotherms, crocodiles do not need regular feeding to warm up their bodies.

So, they store a huge amount of energy. Larger crocodiles can survive for about a year without food. Small individuals need to eat food three to four times a week. A crocodile eats an average number of about 50 full meals per year.

How Much Do Crocodiles Eat

Unlike mammal predators (lion, tiger, and other big cats), crocodiles do not eat much and are okay with only one kilogram of meat per day. They eat about 5% of their body weight per week. However, it is a rough estimation, and they may eat more or less than this quantity.

In extreme hunger, some species of crocodiles can consume up to half of their body in just one meal.  The amount of food a crocodile eats also depends on its size and the availability of food. A juvenile crocodile needs to eat a minimum of 4% of its body weight per week.

How Much Do Crocodiles Eat A Day

On average, crocodiles eat 2 to 5 lbs (1 to 2 kg) of meat per day. However, in the case of prey abundance, a crocodile may eat much more than 2 kg of meat. It also depends on the size of crocodiles and large-sized crocodiles eat much more food than smaller individuals.

When Do Crocodiles Eat

Crocodiles eat when they get hungry. However, if the prey is abundantly available and crossing their path, they will eat them even if they are not hungry. In case of prey scarcity, they can survive without food for a long time. Large crocodiles can survive for a year without food.

How Do Crocodiles Eat – How Do Crocodiles Eat Their Prey

Crocodiles hunt their prey in stealthy ways. They sit and wait for a fish or land animal to come close and then quickly attack. In the water, they often resemble logs or trees. This provides them an advantage in manipulating prey. Crocodiles also hunt by drowning the prey in the water, usually when it is drinking water from the shore. They use their strong and massive jaws to catch and kill prey. During hunting, they also lose many of their teeth. In its lifetime, a crocodile loses and replaces around 7,000 to 8,000 teeth, depending on the species of crocodile and the difficulty of hunting.

Crocodiles crush their prey and then swallow it whole. Unlike other animals, they can not chew or cut off small pieces of food. Among vertebrates, crocodiles have the most acidic stomach. It makes them able to easily and quickly digest the swallowed whole prey, including the parts like bones, hooves, and horns. 

Crocodiles Diet facts for kids

What Do Crocodiles Eat At The Zoo

At the zoo, crocodiles eat small animals like rats, mice, fish, etc. These animals are killed before feeding them. Crocodiles are also fed with live locusts at some zoos. At the San Diego Zoo, they are mostly fed with trout and many other types of fish.

What Do Crocodiles Eat In The Wild

In the wild, crocodiles eat everything moving that crosses their path. They are ambush predators and wait for prey to come close. They mostly eat fish, frogs and toads, many types of crustaceans and molluscs, lizards, and many other reptiles, birds, and mammals. They even sometimes eat other crocodiles. The diet of crocodiles varies greatly with age, size, and the species they belong to.

Some species are mostly fish-eating, such as fresh-water crocodiles and slender-snouted crocodiles. Bigger species like salt-water crocodiles and Nile crocodiles eat a diverse diet, which also includes large mammals like deer, buffalo, wild boar, etc. What a crocodile eats also depends on its age and size within the same species.  Younger crocodiles mostly eat invertebrates and small fish, and their diet gradually shifts to large prey as they grow. Crocodiles are also scavengers and eat carrion and leftovers of other predators.

Crocodiles Eat crab facts

What Do Crocodiles Eat In The Rainforest

Crocodiles eat any kind of animal they find and they can eat, from insects to large mammals. It depends on the size of the crocodile.

In the rainforest, they mostly eat fish and snails. However, they also eat small reptiles, frogs, invertebrates, birds, and mammals that come to the water edge or cross their path.

Do Crocodiles Eat Hippos

Crocodiles like to eat hippos, however, they usually never get a chance. Only a pair of full-grown crocodiles can get a hippo without any challenge. A single crocodile can not get a chance and the hippo can easily bite it through its skull. Hippo calves are vulnerable and are easy targets for crocodiles to attack and eat.

Do Crocodiles Eat Lions

Crocodiles are known to sometimes eat lions when they are drinking water at the edge. However, lions are also known for hunting and eating baby crocodiles.

Do Crocodiles Eat Sharks

Yes, crocodiles eat sharks. There is much evidence of crocodiles eating sharks. In north Queensland, Australia, a man saw a shark he hooked was eaten by a crocodile. Another person captured the amazing scene of a crocodile eating a shark on his camera on a visit to the east coast of South Africa.

Do Crocodiles Eat Snakes

Yes, crocodiles eat snakes. They will eat all types of snakes available to them and that they could catch easily. However, some snakes also eat crocodiles. An olive python snake was seen in northern Queensland, Australia, fighting, strong holding, and then eating a freshwater (or Johnson’s) crocodile. 

Do Crocodiles Eat Frogs

Yes, crocodiles eat frogs. Frogs and fish are the most common diet of juvenile and adult crocodiles.

Do Crocodiles Eat Manatees

The crocodiles may eat younger manatees (calves), however, there is no evidence. Manatees are giant animals that would be extremely difficult for a crocodile to eat. Manatees and crocodiles are observed peacefully coexisting. Sometimes, manatees crawl on crocodilians.

Do Crocodiles Eat Elephants

Yes, crocodiles eat elephants. They are known to attack and eat baby elephants. Crocodiles usually hunt an elephant in groups, when it is drinking water from the shore. They mostly attack and bite down on its trunk. Adult healthy elephants are usually avoided, as they can fight off the crocodile, however, they may still suffer severe injuries on the trunk. Nile crocodiles usually hunt elephants in the Luangwa River (Zambia), when they cross the river or drink water from the edge. In one case, a mother elephant was observed crushing and killing a crocodile with her feet to protect her calf. 

What Do Crocodiles Eat

Do Crocodiles Eat Monkeys

Yes, crocodiles eat monkeys. They attack and eat the unfortunate monkeys that are crossing the river or drinking water.

Why Do Crocodiles Eat Humans

As crocodiles eat any kind of living creature, they also eat humans as a food source when they get the opportunity. Attacks on humans commonly occur in places where human populations live near the native habitat of large crocodile species. It is estimated that crocodiles kill around 1,000 people every year.

Two crocodile species, Nile crocodile and Saltwater crocodile are the most well-known and documented for attacking humans. These two species are responsible for most of the fatal and non-fatal crocodile attacks on humans. Reviews show that about 50% of attacks of both species on humans are fatal. In Australia, the fatality of saltwater crocodile attacks on humans is 25%. In Sub-Saharan Africa, fatal attacks by Nile crocodiles kill hundreds of people each year. Saltwater crocodile attacks mostly occur in Southeast Asia, Australia, New Guiana, and the Solomon Islands.

Another species, the Mugger crocodile, is also very dangerous to humans. In India, it kills several people each year. However, many attacks of mugger crocodiles on humans are territorial and defensive and not predatory like that of the Nile and saltwater crocodiles. As they do not eat many of the victims. Eight other crocodile species are also involved in the deadly attacks on humans. However, the fatality it causes is far lower in number than that of the Nile, saltwater, and mugger crocodiles.

Why Do Crocodiles Eat Rocks

Many crocodiles swallow stones called gastroliths or stomach stones. They either consume it accidentally while attacking live prey or purposely as a mineral source, to help in crushing food within their stomach or to get rid of parasites.

According to Science Magazine, recent research (that was done on seven young American alligators) shows that crocodilians (alligators, crocodiles, and caimans) eat stones to stay underwater for a longer time.

Researchers believe that stones in the belly of crocodilians act like a weight belt of a scuba diver, which lets them stay deep underwater even when their lungs are full of air. With more weight, they can take in more air before deep diving. However, the current research was performed on younger crocodilians, which were lighter in weight. The researchers want to do it again on adult individuals. 

Do Crocodiles Eat Zebras

Yes, crocodiles eat zebras. Like hunting most other mammals, crocodiles also attack zebras when they are drinking water from the river edge or crossing the river. However, zebras and other antelopes do not make up a major part of their diet and they are hunted only occasionally.  Most attacks on zebras are documented along the Mara River at the Maasai Mara National Park in Kenya.

Crocodiles Eating meat

Do Crocodiles Eat Plants

A study revealed that most species of crocodiles, as well as alligators, will eat plants. Evidence suggests that crocodiles also eat fruits. Besides the accounts of them eating plant matter, such evidence is based on the discovery of seeds in the stomach and stool of many subjects. 

Do Crocodiles Eat Crocodiles

Yes, crocodiles are cannibals and eat other crocodiles. It usually occurs when there is no other prey available to hunt and eat. They also do so to control their population and to show dominance. Larger individuals usually eat the younger ones. A cannibalistic crocodile usually avoids other individuals of its size and the reproductive females. Saltwater crocodiles are strictly territorial and usually drive off rivals from their territories. They are also known for eating rival crocodiles. 

Do Crocodiles Eat Giraffes

Yes, crocodiles are known for eating giraffes. Giraffes living close to the river are more likely to fall victim to crocodiles.

Do Crocodiles Eat Hyenas

A crocodile will eat a hyena if it gets the opportunity. As a hyena is a small animal compared to a crocodile and can easily get into its jaws, it would not be difficult for a crocodile to hunt and eat it.

What Kind Of Fish Do Crocodiles Eat

Crocodiles eat all kinds of fish that can get their jaws on. From small fish to sharks, they will eat any fish species they could catch. In fact, fish made a significant part of a crocodile’s diet at every age.

Murad Ali Khan is a researcher, writer & editor, who believes in generating quality content. He leads an awesome team of high school students, teachers & IT graduates who helps him in creating & maintaining educational Websites & Apps.
When not tinkering on the web, Murad enjoys going on hikes, read Latest Science News, plays tennis & hangs out with his friends.

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