Discover the Untold Secrets: What Do Crocodiles Eat

Discover the Untold Secrets: What Do Crocodiles Eat

A closer view of the sunning American Crocodile living in the pond
Matthew Jolley / Adobe Stock

Peering into the mysterious world of crocodiles, many wonder, “What do crocodiles eat?” These impressive reptiles are known for their voracious appetites and swift predatory tactics, but what is it that actually makes up their diet? The exact answer can vary, depending on their size, age, and habitat. Let’s take a dive into the intriguing crocodile menu, shall we?

The Dietary Journey: From Hatchling to Adult

Nile crocodiles
Dewet, CC BY-SA 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

When crocodiles are in their infancy, they feast on smaller prey. This includes insects and small fish. However, as these creatures grow, so does the variety and size of their meals. Young members of the crocodile family will begin to expand their dietary horizons, indulging in small birds, amphibians and other reptiles.

Feasting Habits of the Adult Crocodile

Saltwater crocodile
Sari ONeal / Shutterstock

With size comes power, and adult crocodiles possess plenty of both. Their primary menu usually comprises fish and small vertebrates. However, their expansive jaw strength and swift ambush approach allow them to catch larger prey, including mammals, when the opportunity presents itself. From waterbuck venturing at the water’s edge to drink, to unsuspecting buffalo or giraffes, none are safe if a hungry crocodile lurks nearby.

A Savvy Predator: The Hunting Style of Crocodiles


Crocodiles demonstrate a remarkable knack for hunting, thanks to their camouflaged presence in the water and lightning-fast strikes. Frequently, they seem to study their prey, deceivingly lethargic, before launching their potent attack.

  • Ultimately, these modern-day dinosaurs are patient predators who ambush their prey, often drowning them before enjoying their feast.
  • Notably, crocodiles showcase an intriguing hunting practice called the ‘death roll.’ In this they twist violently in the water to tear large chunks off their prey – a macabre yet incredibly effective strategy.

Crocodiles: Masters of Adaptation

Adult crocodile in the river bank

In essence, the question “What do crocodiles eat?” almost translates to “What’s within a crocodile’s striking distance?” Due to their strategic hunting and opportunistic feeding habits, crocodiles can incorporate an impressive array of meals into their diet, making them one of nature’s most adaptable predators. So, next time someone asks you, “What do crocodiles eat?” you’ll know that the answer is far more varied than expected.

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