When we ask the question that way, we may be asking the wrong one… Why? Because basically crocodiles eat almost everything they can find in their way. They will even feed on humans if one gets too close to them. Birds, fish and reptiles are all potential food that they eat. Let’s take a closer look at the species and their feeding habits.
Most of us have seen pictures and videos of crocodiles jumping on their prey and feasting on them, once they have made their kill. These large reptiles can be found in warm weather, in tropical regions from Africa to Asia, and from the Americas to Australia. They are part of the “Crocodilia” family, which also includes caimans, gharials and the sometime confusing (due to their similarities to crocodiles) alligators.
When we think about them, we always picture crocodiles as these long, strong killing machines, but there are 13 species of crocodiles around the world and they are not all so big. In fact, there is even one which is called the dwarf crocodile. It is the smallest one of the species and grows only to a maximum size of 1.7 meters (5’6”) in length with a maximum weight of six to seven kilograms (13/15 pound). But the one we picture the most in our minds, is the one living in saltwater. They don’t have much in common with the dwarf, as they can reach a length of more than six meters (+20 feet) and a weight of 900kg (2,000 pound). If you see one, you should not get too close. You may not be their favourite food, but they can still make a meal out of you.
Crocodiles: The Food they Eat
What do crocodiles eat? Everything that is edible. A hungry crocodile is not to be messed with. It will eat everything it finds in its way, from reptiles to birds and fish to… humans. Let’s just say that they are not vegetarians to start with. They can feed on all kinds of living things. Anything that moves, crawls, swims or flies is part of their nutrition plan.
They do have preferences in their food, just like us. They particularly enjoy eating a snake or a fish (for them, it can be considered as some kind of appetizer), deer, baby elephants, cows, carrion, gazelles, wild boar, buffaloes and kangaroos. They also eat dogs, so don’t let yours get close anywhere near a place where crocodiles live.
You could say that crocodiles don’t fear any other living thing. They will not hesitate to attack sharks and eat them, if they find one roaming in their area. Same thing with large animals such as hippopotamuses and rhinoceroses. But although they have no predators, it is true that sometimes, an angry hippopotamus can kill a crocodile. Not to eat them, since they are herbivorous, but to defend itself or to protect others.
Crocodiles: Difficult to Kill or Capture
Crocodiles are one of the strongest reptiles. They are more powerful than most mammals as well. The fact that they are so hard to kill or captured (by men) makes them a perfect hunter and a slick killing machine. If you add to that the fact that they take pleasure in feeding and gorging on the flesh of their prey, you then understand how dangerous the crocodiles are in regards to all animals and humans.
A crocodile is so strong that it can jump out of the water to catch a flying bird and eat it alive. Its strength will permit it to drag small to large animals from the land into the water, its natural habitat. If the animal is not dead yet, the crocodile will then proceed to drown the animal before feasting upon it. And if the animal is able to swim, then it will die being bitten by the extremely strong jaw of the crocodile which becomes a trap.
Getting into the territory of a crocodile is a very bad idea for any living thing. That is something this specie does not tolerate. As soon as it recognizes the trespasser, it will attack it and shred it to pieces, leaving it no chance to escape. That also applies to anacondas (giant water snakes) which can kill almost everything else than a crocodile.
Crocodile Food depends on where it Lives
Although it will eat mostly anything, the diet of the crocodile will depend mostly on its location. If it lives in the African savannah, chances are it will feed upon gazelles, deers, and other animals which can be found in these parts of the world. They would not be the same as the ones crocodiles can find in America, for example.
Also, if a crocodile is raised in captivity, its diet will then be controlled by human. Chances are, his hunter tendencies would also be weakened by the fact that it does not have to hunt and kill to eat. This would not, however, diminish the level of danger you would face if placed in front of such a beast. Do not ever underestimate a crocodile, otherwise, it might just be the last thing you ever do…