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Are Crocodiles and Alligators Scared of Humans?

Are Crocodiles and Alligators Scared of Humans
Crocodile on land

Generally speaking, yes, crocodiles and alligators are afraid of humans. However, there are exceptions to this. For example, the Nile and the saltwater crocodiles are not afraid of human beings.

Between crocs and gators, the alligator is more docile and more afraid of humans. Alligators are hunted down during a specific season, and they have learned to stay away from humans.

When do crocodiles and alligators attack?

Crocodile attack
Crocodile attack

Crocodiles and alligators attack for different reasons. Below are the most common ones.

Food scarcity

Crocodiles and alligators are fierce hunters. They do not typically prey on humans, but they will not hesitate to do so if the food is scarce in their area.

On the one hand, alligators are opportunistic hunters. They only attack prey that they can easily overpower. As such, humans are not part of their day-to-day menu. However, these gators will attempt to take a frail human, like a child or an elderly.

An alligator eating a human is not unheard of. In a news report, there was an alligator that ate a 71-year-old man. The victim, Timothy Satterlee Sr., went missing. Later on, people caught a 504-pound gator and found human remains in its stomach.

Crocodiles are a little different, especially the Nile and saltwater crocodiles. They live in the harsh environment of Africa, where food is scarce. These two crocodiles are man-eaters, and governments tell people to stay away from their habitats.

Protection of territory

Crocodiles and alligators are territorial. In Florida, both the male and female alligators are aggressive when it comes to territory. Usually, the biggest alligators are the prime bosses in their respective areas.

Both crocodilians are so territorial that they would even cannibalize their kind. It is not unusual to see crocs and gators attack juveniles. Their territorial behaviour is a little different from other predators.

For example, big cats like lions protect their territories because they want to dominate a bloodline. Crocs and gators protect their territories for food security.

Protection of eggs/ hatchlings

Female crocs and alligators protect their nests. When humans come close to these nests, thesecrocodilians will attack.

There was this 19-year-old who got very lucky. A crocodile attacked him by the right foot and dragged him out of his tent. This man was on a fishing trip, and it was likely that he stayed close to a crocodile nest or habitat.

Self-Defense

Both crocs and gators will attack if threatened. On land, they would run after humans. The safest place to be during a croc attack is on a boat or up a tree.

Related Article: Are crocodiles nocturnal, diurnal or crepuscular?

Are crocodiles and alligators great pets?

Crocodile with Turtle

No, crocodiles and alligators do not make good pets. They are one of the many animals that can never be domesticated. Their brains are not just cut out for that.

There are many YouTubers who show their alligator and crocodile farms and collections. These are professional herpetologists who are involved in the conservation of these animals.

On the other hand, there are also those who are courting disaster. Some people keep alligators as “emotional support” pets. Despite these occurrences, people should never be encouraged to keep crocodiles as pets.

Crocodiles and alligators are wild, like big cats. They may not attack a human being for now, but they certainly will if they are hungry

Related Article: Are There Alligators in Oklahoma?

Do crocodiles and alligators eat human beings?

Alligator eating meat
Alligator eating meat

Yes, alligators and crocodiles eat human beings from time to time. It is not a normal occurrence, except for the Nile and saltwater crocodiles.

Crocodilians do not typically prey on humans, but they would. As apex predators, there are only a few animals that they do not dare attack, especially if the crocodilians are underwater.

Crocodiles are afraid of hippos, but then they would still attack baby hippos. On the other hand, alligators may be afraid of humans, but they will pounce on one if there is an opportunity. 

In the Amazon, caimans are afraid of jaguars. These big cats eat crocodilians and are not even scared to go underwater to battle caimans.

Related Article: Can Alligators Be Tamed and Domesticated?

How dangerous are saltwater crocodiles to humans?

Saltwater Croc

Very dangerous is the right answer. Most attacks happen near bodies of water. Saltwater crocs are enormous. They can grow up to 20 feet and weigh up to 2,000 pounds.

During World War II, the Imperial Army headed to the mangrove swamps in Ramree Island. They probably did not know that it was infested with crocs. Out of 1,000 soldiers, only 20 survived. It was the worst crocodile attack in the history of humankind.

Most saltwater crocodile attacks happen in Southeast Asia and Australia, where there are many of them. At least half of these attacks are fatal. In Australia, only 25% of the attacks are fatal. 

Related Article: Can Alligators Jump?

How dangerous is a Nile crocodile to humans?

Nile Crocodile

Again, very dangerous. Nile crocodiles are responsible for 745 attacks per year. About 63% of these are fatal.

What makes the Nile crocodile scary is that it actively pursues humans for food. Other crocs, with the exception of the saltwater crocodile, typically attack humans for other reasons.

Nile crocodiles often come into contact with humans. Many humans depend on the Nile river for sustenance. Because of the Nile croc’s proximity to humans, attacks are more frequent than most crocodilian species.

For both Nile and saltwater crocodiles, the mean size of the crocs for non-fatal attacks was about ten feet. A majority of these attacks are predatory, which means that the crocs attacked the humans with the intent to eat them.

Related Article: Do crocodiles and alligators attack underwater?

Summary

Crocodiles and alligators are scared of humans, but some species are not. The saltwater crocodile and Nile crocodiles are the most dangerous of all. Even if crocodilians are scared of humans, they will still attack if provoked. They have the power to win against a human being, and they know it. People are generally advised to stay away from them. It is not a good idea to keep crocs and gators as pets. Once they are big enough, it won’t be easy to handle them. A single mistake can be fatal, especially if there are kids around the area.

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