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Can Crocodiles Jump?

Can Crocodiles Jump
Crocodile attack

Yes, crocodiles can jumpin the water and hop on land. In the water, the crocodile uses its tail to propel itself upwards from the water.

When a crocodile jumps, it wants to move vertically. A crocodile does this to catch prey, usually one that is perched on a tree. It is an amazing sight, as crocodiles are not sluggish when they jump.

How does a crocodile jump from the water?

Aggressive crocodile
Aggressive crocodile

Contrary to popular belief, crocodiles do not leap out of the water. They do not swim fast like dolphins. When dolphins jump out of the water, they use speed.

Crocodiles jump while stationary. They jump like a human jump from the ground. Before a crocodile makes the leap, it puts its head above the water’s surface. It has to see the target.

What makes a crocodile amazing is its ability to judge its distance from the prey. Somehow, the crocodile has an uncanny ability to measure the distance accurately.

Once the crocodile is ready, it undulates its tail ina sinusoidal manner. What it means is that the crocodile moves its tail like a snake moves its body. This movement is what pushes the crocodile out of the water.

The fantastic thing about this locomotion is that it happens so fast. A crocodile can jump out in under a second. The result is a jump that propels the crocodile in the air. Moreover, crocs can jump several feet into the air.

Can crocodiles jump if their feet are on the riverbed?

Crocodile running on grass
Crocodile running on grass

Yes, they can, but it is called a lunge and not a jump. When a crocodile’s feet are on a substrate, and the body of water is shallow, they jump using their feet.

The way they do this is by using their back feet as a springboard. Their legs are powerful, and they act like pistons that push the crocodile’s body forward. Many crocodile species use this lunge, and they do this to capture prey on land.

Usually, crocodiles make the lunge if the animal is at the riverbank. It normally happens in shallow waterholes where animals congregate to drink. The crocodile lies in wait and springs lightning fast at the right moment.

This ability is explosive. The crocodile will spring forward so fast that the poor prey has no time to react. Compared to leaping from the water, the forward lung is faster. Also, a crocodile needs deep water to leap vertically, as it has to find the right angle to undulate its tail. 

How many feet can a crocodile jump?

Morelet's Crocodile
Morelet’s Crocodile

There is no scientific study to show how many feet a crocodile can jump. However, the average is about five feet from their stationary position. The five feet is a forward distance, not a vertical one.

From underwater, a crocodile can jump up to eight feet. The measurement, however, includes their bodies already. Crocodiles do not typically jump with their tails out of the water. When they jump, the tail stays underwater.

As such, the measurement only happens from the tip of the snout down to the water’s surface. In this case, the distance between the prey and the water’s surface is what makes up the eight-foot jump.

Can crocodiles jump on land?

crocodile

Yes, crocodiles can jump on land. The way they do this is similar to how they jump when in shallow waters. They lunger forward to capture prey.

On land, crocodiles can also gallop. And when they do, they gallop like horses. National Geographic has a video that shows how the crocodile can gallop, and it is a scary sight.

For experts, there is a difference between galloping and bounding. Technically, what a crocodile does is bound, not gallop.

In a bound, the forelimbs and the hindlimbs hit the ground simultaneously. Ina gallop, the forelimb it’s the ground first, followed by the hindlimb.

The thing is that only little crocodiles take off bounding. There are five crocodile species that can do this. The gharial, another crocodilian, can also bound and gallop.

It is strange that alligators do not gallop, except for rare situations where an alligator attempted to do so. No one has ever documented alligators galloping.

The muscles may be the reason why there is a difference between alligators and crocodiles. Crocodiles have muscle fibers that are better suited to bounding or galloping. Alligators have thicker muscles like this, which makes bounding and galloping extremely difficult.

What other movements can crocodiles do?

Crocodile in the sun
Crocodile in the sun

Crocodiles can swim, and they can also walk on land. Underwater, they can take a dive and explore the waters for food. They can go to the riverbed or just float on the surface for a casual stroll.

On land, crocodiles have several locomotive movements, including the gallop. The other two are the belly crawl and the high walk.

In the belly crawl, the crocodile’s belly touches the ground. Then, it uses its feet to drag itself forward. It is a lazy walk, and it seems that crocodiles who do this are just moving about in their territory.

In the high walk, the crocodile lifts itself up on all fours. The belly does not touch the ground. To move forward, the crocodile also has to lift about half of its tail off the ground. Then, it moves its feet like four-legged land animals do to move forward.

A crocodile can travel at speeds of four kilometers per hour in a high walk. If it wants to, it can increase its speed and walk for five kilometers per hour.

When crocodiles do the high walk, one thing that may fascinate an observer is their legs. Crocodiles can rotate their feet 90 degrees forward. The legs are not facing sideways, and it gives the crocodiles the ability to move faster.

Summary

Crocodiles can jump n both land and water. On land, crocodiles either jump or gallop. In the water, they leap.When jumping from the water, crocodiles use their tails to propel themselves vertically. On land, they use their hind legs as springs to lunge forward.

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