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

A fight between a crocodile and a jaguar would be bad for both animals. In the water, crocodiles would easily win out, but on land, the jaguar would have a clear advantage. Some jaguars even hunt caimans, a type of alligator found in Central and South America.

Both jaguars and crocodiles are considered to be apex predators. Jaguars often live in jungles and rainforests of Central and South America, where they will come across a specific type of alligator called a caiman. Jaguars will hunt caimans for food but might avoid larger crocodile species altogether.

Crocodile vs Jaguar

Summary Table: Crocodile vs Jaguar

Strength (Bite Force)3700 PSI1500 PSI
SizeUp to 20 feetUp to 2,4 feet (height)
HabitatTropicalRainforests, jungle
Conservation StatusLow – EndangeredNear Threatened

Comparison: Crocodile vs Jaguar

1. Strength

In terms of strength, the jaguar is a more agile and capable hunter than a crocodile, but the crocodile has a better defense system, thicker skin, and is heavier than the jaguar. Jaguars usually won’t hunt larger crocodile species but regularly go after caimans, which are more easily available in their habitat.

If we would compare crocodiles and jaguars in terms of their bite force, then there is simply no competition. A typical crocodile has a bite force of around 3700 PSI, which is near the top of the list of the animals with the strongest bite in the world.

A jaguar is a very capable hunter: strong, agile, and fast, it is a true apex predator of its habitat. The combination of its agility, strong bite, and its hunting techniques makes the jaguar a real threat to some crocodiles in its habitat – most notably, caimans.

In a fight, a crocodile would usually lose out against a jaguar, especially if it’s an experienced jaguar it’s up against. The jaguar would prefer to surround the crocodile and attack it from behind, for which the crocodile has no answer. And thanks to the powerful bite of the jaguar, it would be able to penetrate through its thick skin, too.

That being said, jaguars tend to avoid larger crocodiles. These can be too intimidating and powerful for the jaguar and a fight between these two would result in bad consequences for the jaguar.

Related Article: 10 Jaguar Adaptations

2. Size

A fully grown crocodile is larger than a jaguar, as it can reach up to 20 feet in size. However, that is only true of the largest crocodile species such as the saltwater crocodile. The crocodile that jaguars usually encounter, a caiman, will grow to up to 12 feet and is much smaller than saltwater crocodiles.

On the other hand, a jaguar is up to 2,4 feet tall and up to 6 feet large, which makes it smaller than a typical crocodile. This means that in terms of size, a typical jaguar would only be as large as the smallest crocodile.

But for jaguars, size is not an obstacle. They primarily hunt smaller crocodiles anyway, which includes baby crocodiles, older crocodiles, and those who are generally smaller in size. But, they are perfectly capable of hunting and killing an adult crocodile, too.

There are many different types of crocodiles out there. The smallest crocodile species is the West African dwarf crocodile, which will only grow to up to 6 feet in size. On the other hand, the largest crocodile species, the saltwater crocodile, can be up to 20 feet large.

There are also various types of jaguars out there, but they all share a similarity in size. Some will be larger than others, though. Males tend to be larger than females; females might only be about 3,7 feet large while males might grow to be up to 6 feet large, and some are even larger.

Related Article: Do Jaguars Eat Crocodiles and Alligators?

3. Diet

In terms of diet, both jaguars and crocodiles prefer a meat-based diet. Crocodiles like to eat smaller mammals, fish, and lizards, while jaguars prefer larger types of meals. They will primarily eat ungulates but might enjoy a much more varied diet based on the foods that are available in their habitat.

The jaguar is an exceptional hunter. Stealthy and sneaky, but also fast and agile when needed. With its excellent hunting techniques, it will be able to capture and eat most of the foods that are readily available in its habitat. This includes deer, capybaras, tortoises, fish, birds, monkeys, and even larger animals like caimans.

Because of the dense environment where jaguars usually live, they will also need to learn how to climb trees to be even more effective hunters. They often also use trees to scale up on, and then once the prey passes by, the jaguar will pounce.

Crocodiles are also good hunters, but they have a more specific diet. They will eat most animals that come near their habitat, including smaller mammals, lizards, fish, and other animals they can catch. They’re very good at hunting in the water; on land, they are also fast and deceptively agile, despite their weight.

4. Habitat

Both the jaguar and the crocodile prefer the tropical habitat. Jaguars prefer a more densely populated area like a rainforest or a jungle, while the crocodile lives near streams, rivers, or lakes.

Crocodiles prefer to live near a water source as they want to be in the water often. This means they will actively seek water sources such as lakes, rivers, streams, or other stagnant waters where they can hide and pounce from the water. Often, they will live in larger groups.

Jaguars are much more single-minded than crocodiles, but they also have a strong sense of community. They prefer to live in rainforests and other densely populated areas where prey is abundant.

Related Crocodile Comparisons:


To conclude, jaguars and crocodiles are often rivals in their habitats, but jaguars would usually come out on top. They sometimes hunt caimans that are readily available in their habitats. They hunt by pouncing from a higher ground, which gives the jaguar an advantage and the caiman no chance to prepare for the attack.

Skip to content