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The crocodile

 The vast majority of man eating is down to only two Croc species.

  • The Saltwater Crocodile (from South East Asia and parts of Australia) and
  • The Nile Crocodile (who is comfortable roaming pretty much all over Africa).

Between the two of them, they are responsible for hundreds of fatal attacks on humans for the sole purpose of consuming us.


No 1: Let’s start with the Saltwater Crocodile:

The Saltwater Croc is the largest living reptile known to science and

  • males can grow up to over 6 meters (or 20 ft) in length and
  • weight up to 1,300 kg (or 2,900 lb).

The Salty is considered the ultimate Apex predator and to provide some context just to fully get my point across, considering the following:

Aside from being capable of devouring adult humans without much effort and the same goes for virtually any other animal that enters its territory.. Because they are saltwater reptiles, their diet includes one of the most aggressive and the 2nd most dangerous of all the shark species – the Bull Shark.

I for one did not see that coming when I began my research into the topic.

No 2: Onto the Nile Crocodile:

The Nile Croc is the 2nd largest living reptile known to science and

  • males can also grow up to over 6 meters (or 20 ft) in length (much like their saltwater cousins)
  • but they do weight in at a slightly less at 1,100 kg (or 2,400 lb).

They’re also freshwater reptiles, so at least the shark population around the African coastline can rest a little easier at night (…. ignoring of course the recent spike in Orcas a.k.a. Killer Whales that’s been adding sharks to their regular menu).

Despite being slightly smaller than their Saltwater cousins, Nile Crocs are known to be:

  • more aggressive,
  • more agile and
  • can remain under water for longer.

The Nile Crocodile is also surprisingly responsible for more human deaths annually than the Saltwater Croc, however that’s most likely because they’ve decided to inhabit virtually all of Africa and overlap with humans more frequently than the Salty’s.

As for the diet of the Nile Crocodile, (aside from humans of course) it pretty much eats anything that crosses its path. There is actual evidence that Nile Crocodiles have been known to take down:

  • Young (not baby) Male African Elephants: (2-3 tons);
  • Adult Black Rhino: (1,400kg/3,000lb)
  • Buffalo: (1,00kg/2,200lb)
  • A fatal attack on an Adult Female Hippo has even officially been recorded (5m/17ft specimen, weighing 1,300kg/3,330lb).

It’s worth noting that attacks on large prey by Nile Crocodiles generally occur at drinking holes or rivers, where the Nile Crocodile is strong enough to drown its prey.

For some further interesting reading, I’ve included a link to a Nile crocodile named Gustave. Having eaten an estimated 300 human beings, he is considered one of the most notorious man-eaters to ever roam the earth:

Aside from these top two Apex man eaters, it would be unfair to not give an honourable mention to their somewhat smaller and less hot-headed cousins.

No 3: The Mugger Crocodile (freshwater croc found in India and Iran)

Although smaller than the Big 2, a standard Large Adult Mugger Male Croc can grow up to 5m/16ft and weight up to 200kg/450lb).

Pythons however appear to be a common target for Mugger Crocs, with even large Burmese and Reticulated Pythons (i.e. 6m/20ft -100 kg/220lb) often making it onto the menu.


Unlike the Big 2, Muggers has on occasion fallen prey to large Tigers and Lions (albeit rarely) and with Lions the predator/prey relationship seems to go both ways (with the winner dependent on the size of the animals and location of the battle – i.e. water or land).

An American Crocodile Male grow up to 5m/16.5ft and attacks on average 45 humans per year of which 5 attacks result in death.

In comparison:

An American Alligator is slightly smaller (4.5m/15ft) and attacks on average around the same number of humans as the American Croc, although the fatality rate is significantly lower.

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