Crocodile vs Cheetah (Strength, Size, Diet, Habitat)

A crocodile can easily beat a cheetah while in the water. Crocodiles have been known for preying on cheetahs and especially cheetah cubs while hiding in the water. For this reason, cheetahs prefer to avoid water sources where crocodiles tend to hang out.

In the water, the crocodile has almost 100% chance of beating a cheetah in a fight. That’s because the crocodile is very adept in the water and will wait in the water for any animal to come near. Once that happens, the crocodile will pounce on the animal, no matter how large it is. Some crocodiles have also been known for preying on cheetahs, especially their cubs.

Crocodile vs Cheetah

Summary Table: Crocodile vs Cheetah

Strength (Bite Force)3700 PSI475 PSI
SizeUp to 20 feetUp to 3 feet
HabitatTropicalGrasslands, open plains
Conservation StatusLow – endangeredVulnerable


1. Strength

When we talk about strength, there’s a number of different variables that come into play here: we need to take a look at their bite force, the speed of the animal, size, as well as its predatory ability.

If we consider all of the above factors, it’s fair to conclude that crocodiles are stronger than cheetahs. They’re much larger and they have a much stronger bite, and they are also pretty fast, especially in the water. However, a cheetah would easily outrun a crocodile on land and might even beat it.

The cheetah is considered to be the fastest land animal in the world. It can run with speeds of up to 80 miles per hour. They’re at their best in short-distance runs, but can also handle longer-distance runs with ease, just not at their highest speeds. Considering this fact, a cheetah would likely be able to beat a crocodile on land.

However, the crocodile is a much more cunning animal than most people believe. It does best when in the water, so it will spend most of its time there. It will hide in the water and wait for animals of prey to come by so they can pounce.

Now, an adult crocodile would make light work of a cheetah, especially near a water source. An unsuspecting cheetah that might come to drink water from the water source would not be able to match the strength and the speed of a crocodile.

But on land, the cards are flipped, and both animals would have an equal chance of winning. That’s thanks to the exceptional speed and agility of the cheetah that might be able to surround the crocodile on land and kill it. But the crocodile would also be a very tough animal to kill.

2. Size

Crocodiles are usually larger than most cheetahs. The largest crocodile species is the saltwater crocodile, which will grow to up to 20 feet. Cheetahs are taller but are not as large as the crocodile.

The smallest crocodile is only about 6 feet large. This is the African dwarf crocodile that lives in tropical areas of Central Africa. It is the smallest crocodile, but still capable of hunting larger animals, especially ungulates, fish, and other animals that might come close to it.

Cheetahs are not nearly as large as crocodiles, but they are taller. They have long and slender feet which are crucial for their running capabilities. Their sleek and slender appearance might make it seem as though they’re not strong, but they have muscly bodies and might weigh up to 143 pounds.

Crocodiles, on the other hand, might weigh up to 2300 pounds. This was the case with Lolong, which was the largest ever recorded crocodile. This crocodile was 20 feet 3 inches large and weighed 2370 pounds, and it was found in the Philippines. In general, saltwater crocodiles are the largest crocodile species in the world.

Related Article: 10 Cheetah Adaptations

3. Diet

Both crocodiles and cheetahs are carnivores. Crocodiles prefer to hunt lizards, insects, smaller mammals, fish, and small frogs that live in their habitat. Sometimes, they might hunt larger animals of prey, especially the ones that live nearby a water source. Cheetahs mainly focus on ungulates.

Even though they’re both carnivorous, they have different preferences when it comes to diet.

Cheetahs prefer to hunt animals that they can chase. They will go after ungulates such as small antelopes, duikers, impalas, gazelles, and other similar animals. However, they might also group up and hunt larger animals such as ox, hartebeest, warthogs, kudu, and other large animals.

Crocodiles, on the other hand, prefer to hunt animals that lurk nearby their habitat, which is usually the water source they live in. This might include a variety of different foods, including small mammals, frogs, fish, birds, and other animals that might come drink the water. This sometimes even includes cheetahs.

Crocodiles aren’t picky eaters and are very opportunistic, so they will grab any opportunity they get to hunt and eat the food they can get.

4. Habitat

Crocodiles prefer tropical habitats, while cheetahs like to live in grasslands, savannas, and open fields.

Cheetahs want to take full advantage of their physical capabilities, so they will live in more open areas when compared to crocodiles. They are the fastest running animal in the world, so they prefer to chase their prey and wear it down. This means you’ll find them in open habitats such as grasslands or open fields, but might sometimes come in other habitats, too.

Crocodiles are much more dependent on the water source they live in. Some prefer saltwater sources, others prefer freshwater sources. But almost all crocodiles have a preference to live in areas with water where they can hide and ambush their prey.

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Crocodiles and cheetahs rarely come into contact, but when they do, it’s usually the crocodile that wins out. That happens when a cheetah comes to drink water from the water source a crocodile finds itself in, which might have terrible consequences for the cheetah. It has been known that crocodiles might prey on cheetah cubs and smaller cheetahs.

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