Step out of line and you might just be dead…. crocodile hierarchy…

There is a strict hierarchy in crocodile groups, that is determined by size. Large, old males are at the top of this hierarchy and have primary access to food and the best basking spots. Crocodiles know their place in the hierarchical order and rarely act against it, but when they do, the results are very bloody and sometimes even fatal.

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On average the Nile crocodile is between 4.1 metres (13 ft.) to 5 metres (16 ft.), weighing around 410 kg (900 lb.). However, specimens measuring 6.1 metres (20 ft.) in length and weighing 907 kg (2,000 lb.) have been recorded. Damn am I glad I’ve never met one of the big fellows… 6.1 metres is a bit big for even Tarzan to wrestle… The one below is a fair size…

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The Nile crocodile is an ambush predator and can wait for hours, days and even weeks for the suitable moment to attack. They are quite agile predators and wait for the opportunity for the prey item to come close within the range of attack.

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The bite force exerted by an adult Nile crocodile has been shown by Dr. Brady Barr to measure 5,000 lbf. (22 kN.). However, the muscles responsible for opening the mouth are exceptionally weak, allowing a man to easily hold them shut with a small amount of force.

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63 thoughts on “Step out of line and you might just be dead…. crocodile hierarchy…

  1. Yikes, I’ve always been in awe of these magnificent creatures. They are even bigger than I realised, as you say, even Tarzan couldn’t handle one of these big boys! But then the only real ones I’ve seen have been in zoos…I didn’t realise that they can wait for weeks for prey. Again, love the pics and the thoroughly interesting facts…keep ’em coming Bulldog 😉

  2. What a horrifying experience for the man and his family in Lake Kariba, which doesn’t bare thinking about. Not much chance of winning a fight with a powerful and hungry animal. Apart from in a zoo, I have only seen alligators and crocs close up on an airboat trip in the Everglades.

    • There was an 18 footer caught not long ago and moved from an area of local indigenous homes… I believe it was a weight in the region of 800 kgs… man that will swallow you whole ..

    • Yep these things frighten me… a almost 6 metre one was captured and moved not long ago… 6 metrers ( 18 ft.) man that will swallow you whole…

  3. I have seen alligators, and they are scary enough for me. And they are tiny compared to these Nile Crocs. I can’t even imagine being anywhere near them. I loved the background on how hierarchical they are in terms of basking space and determining “who’s the boss!” I read in your comments the story of the man who lost his life in front of his family. What a horrible story. They are both fascinating and terrifying…but great photos!

  4. Ah, my favourite! I used to work in a crocodile farm and have had some very close calls with the big salt-water ones. I’ve held a lot of crocs and never been bitten, but hubby has. It was only a small one (six months old), but they’re vicious. We used to watch the eggs hatch and the babies would come out snapping 😉

    • You are braver than I Dianne… I’ve swum in rivers where the crocs have been sunning themselves on the bank of the opposite side of the river… but I have to qualify this with I was a lot younger then and smashed out of my brain.. (back in my drinking days) … I was lucky as is attested with the man taken by a 14 footer yesterday in Lake Kariba… he was beaching his yacht when this croc took him right in front of his family…
      I guess I was just lucky or the crocs might have felt I was to well soaked in alcohol…
      I heard of a man who lost a finger to a 6 month old croc, apparently a freak accident but still… one of those creatures to be given a wide birth if you ask me…
      I’m so pleased you now write books rather than raise crocs… mind you, you “Shelia’s” are tough woman, chrome plated according to Aussie men…lol…

    • Thanks Diana… the man taken yesterday on Lake Kariba probably felt the same way… his family had to witness the croc taking him whilst he was in the water helping to beach his yacht… The realities of life on some of our waters brought home with a bang.. now I feel bad about posting this …

  5. Crocs freak me out! More especially that spinning manouvre they do to drown their prey.

    Looooong ago, on a family vacation on the south coast we visited a croc farm on a rainy day not fit for beach. Sleeping arrangement were such that I ended up sharing a double bed with my cousin Melanie. The next morning she gave me a very dirty look when I woke up. Apparently I dreamt that she was a spinning croc and full on attacked her in my sleep (she looked like she had gone three rounds with a mountain lion from scratches!).

    Haha, I asked her why she didn’t just wake me up? She said she thought it was like sleep walking and she had heard if you wake a sleep walker with a shock they could die. Hehehe, I still feel a bit bad about it but luckily she forgave me (although she has vowed never to sleep next to me again).

    • With a man having been taken by a croc yesterday on Lake Kariba, the reality of this happening just comes a little closer… taken right in front of his family…
      Doesn’t sound safe to sleep next to you… lol

    • Those are probably the most common feelings about the crocs… although having read about the man taken yesterday on Lake Kariba terrifying might just win the day… he was landing his yacht and entered the water to aid in the beaching, when a 14 footer decided to make a meal of him… right in front of his family… now that is terrifying…

  6. The Everglades is the one place where alligators and crocodiles co-exist in the same waters. We kayaked in these waters and I tried very hard not to think about what would happen if our inflatable kayak sprang a leak. We saw alligators, crocodiles and large snakes hanging around the mangroves. It was exhilarating but a bit nerve-wracking. Have I told you lately how much I love your photography Bulldog? 😉

    • Thank you LuAnn… feel bad about this post as a man was taken by a croc on Kariba Lake yesterday while beaching his yacht… his family witnessed the whole thing… afraid no coming back from that…

  7. Great pictures, you clever boy 🙂 Where did you take them? (Do Nile crocs live in SA? Or is yu reputation as a photographer so good that even alligators get a charter flight over for a photo shoot with you?)
    I could help thinking of that great Crocodile Dundee scene when the cute girlie in swimming cozzie got attacked by a dangerous plastic crocodile, and was saved by her knife-wielding super hero…

    • Yes my Dear, they are a very obvious presence in our rivers running east, not so in those going west…
      No the alligator does not make an appearance here, God forbid the crocs frighten the crap out of me and that’s enough…
      I actually feel bad about this post now as a man was taken by a croc yesterday on Kariba Lake in Zimbabwe, he was pulling his yacht closer to shore when his family witnessed his disappearance taken by a 14 ft croc… no returning from that I’m afraid…
      “So don’t go out in the dams today you might be in for a big surprise” sung to the music of … the teddy bears picnic

  8. These guys move so darn fast – when it pleases them…other wise they look like rocks or logs. That spinning thing they do is quite a strategy. But I’ll just admire them from a distance…preferably with something between them and me. (reality shows are not doing people any favor – a couple of teenagers tried to “capture” a small-medium sized gator the other day – they were a little surprise – and very lucky)

    • Thanks for the comment… I actually feel bad about this post now having just read of a man being taken by a croc as he beached his yacht on Kariba Lake in Zimbabwe… his family witnessed it from the yacht… how bad is that?

      • The world isn’t Disneyland. That is horrid. There are some monster sized crocs there – and they are much faster, stronger – and more invisible than people realize. (TV hasn’t done any favors there).
        Still posts like this are important to remind people to take care.

    • Yes… why wouldn’t one want to hold its mouth closed.??? I suppose there are those that want to and this is why this fact is added… just be quick before it opens the mouth and grabs a portion of you… cause if it does, I definitely hear a gurgling sound of water

    • These are a little bigger than the alligators you get in the USA… the Nile Croc is the second biggest in the world, surpassed only by the saltwater croc… I’m very weary of this fellow as he will happily test your swimming skills by holding you under water for a half hour and then eating you…

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