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Do Crocodiles Eat Each Other?

Do Crocodiles Eat Each Other

Yes, crocodiles each other from time to time. Crocodiles eat juveniles to control the population. They also eat large adults if food is really scarce or there is a territorial encroachment.

It is not unusual to see crocs attack other crocs in the wild. Crocodiles live long. Some live up to 70 years. By this time, they are so huge that they need to eat more. The easiest prey is a smaller crocodile, and it is why they resort to cannibalism.

Do alligators eat each other?

Crocodile attack
Crocodile attack

Yes, alligators each other. They do it for a variety of reasons. They do this for territorial and survival reasons.

Alligators are apex predators. They really have no one around to eat them unless if the alligator lives in an area where there are jaguars.

The rate of cannibalism among gators is high. Alligators, like crocodiles, eat their kind to reduce the population. Each alligator is a competitor for food. The lesser gators there are, the more food there is for the survivors.

Related Article: Do crocodiles eat sharks?

What reasons do crocodiles have to eat each other?

Orinoco Crocodile
Orinoco Crocodile

Here are some of the most common reasons for crocodilian cannibalism.

Territory

Many species of crocodiles are territorial. The saltwater crocodile, for one, is highly territorial. Because it is huge, it knows that it can overpower many other animals. And it does. An adult saltwater crocodile preys on other animals that wander in its territory.

The saltwater will attack sharks, vertebrates and invertebrates, and even humans. Crocodiles are also likely to attack their own kind for as long as the other croc encroaches on one’s territory.

During mating season, the cannibal crocodile knows to avoid another male or female of the same size. It targets smaller crocs. Crocodiles can get really aggressive during mating season, and it does not make sense for a cannibal croc to attack someone bigger than it.

Population

Different crocodiles have different egg counts. The average among all of them is 7 to 95 eggs. Although not all these eggs hatch, many do. There is no consensus as to the mortality rate of eggs of crocodiles. Some say it is between 42 and 73 percent.

Healthy crocodiles lay eggs every year. If the mortality is 73 percent, it means that 73 will survive out of 100 eggs per year, and this is only from one mother. Some female crocodiles lay eggs once every two years.

There are many crocodile egg predators like raccoons, rats, and pigs. Even if only 50% of the eggs hatch, it is still a huge number. Crocodiles have a long life span.

Given this, there will come a time when their habitat could no longer sustain their need for food. It is why crocodiles eat each other—the big ones prey on juvenile crocodiles to reduce the population.

Some juveniles know better—they tend to stay away from larger crocs. If they manage to hide, they will survive and grow into adulthood.

Many baby crocs also stay with their mothers for months. During this time, cannibal crocodiles cannot attack the babies, as the mother would match that aggression to its babies.

Food Scarcity

Sometimes, food is scarce in a crocodile’s habitat. While they mostly live in brackish waters, there are crocodiles that live in arid areas like Africa.

For example, the Levubu River in South Africa can dry out. If it does, there is a severe drought, and animals do not come by.

As such, the crocodiles have little to nothing to eat. The weathering heat also drive them hungry. Most of them would take shade from the bushes near the pool. It is in this situation where crocs are likely to cannibalize their own kind.

Before the last feast, many animals come to the drying pool, and it is how some crocodiles manage to eat. They store the energy from this meal, and then they weather out the hot conditions until it rains.

Related Article: Can Crocodiles Jump?

Do crocodiles eat alligators?

philippine crocodile

There is no documented evidence for this, but it is possible. Crocodiles and alligators do not live in the same geographical locations. However, there is one place in the world where they do—it is in southern Florida.

Crocodiles and alligators live together in south Florida, but they rarely fight. Since crocodiles are more aggressive than the two species, it is likely that they also attack alligators from time to time.

Crocodiles and alligators, by the way, do not mate. They are different species, and no known hybridization has ever occurred.

How does a crocodile eat another crocodile?

crocodiles

Most cases of cannibalism involve a big croc preying on a small one. In this situation, the big croc bites the body of the small one, and then it begins to thrash.

The bigger croc does not attempt to drown the little one, knowing that it can hold its breath underwater. What the big crocodile relies on is its powerful jaws. Once a small croc is in the jaws o the cannibal, there is no way it can escape.

The hunter, or the cannibal, will continue thrashing and biting until the juvenile croc is torn in half or until it dies. It then proceeds to eat it like it would with other animals.

On land, a croc could start by biting the leg of another crocodile. Then, the cannibal croc will do the death roll. The force of the bite and the roll severs the leg, making the victim immobile. It can also happen during feeding time when one croc mistakes the leg of another croc for a meal.

The rest of the other crocodiles, having seen this, would gang up on the poor victim. Thus ends the life of a crocodile that was cannibalized.

Summary

Crocodiles eat each other, and so do alligators. Both species have their reasons for doing so, but the most common are territory, food scarcity, and population reduction. Many crocodiles live in Africa, and the drought in the area causes food scarcity. When this happens, they are more likely to eat each other than during the rainy season.

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