Yes, crocodiles eat humans, but they do not actively hunt or prey on them. As carnivorous predators, crocodiles will attack anything they think they can eat.
Crocodiles are strong—they can pull an adult wildebeest in the water, and they can also do it with adult zebras. However, human attacks are not a regular thing for them. If anything, these attacks are unfortunate events.
Disclaimer: This is information for entertainment and educational purposes only. Do not approach a wild animal and keep your distance. Only professionals should handle wild animals. Seek professional help immediately if you have been bitten or otherwise harmed. Consult your local wildlife authority for the right advice for your situation and locality.
Crocodile Attacks Per Year
Although crocodiles do not actively seek out humans, a crocodile attack is common in areas where both humans and crocs live. Also, the crocs that do this are the big ones, such as the saltwater and Nile crocodiles.
The global estimate is that 1,000 people die of crocodile attacks per year.
It is difficult to obtain accurate figures for crocodiles attacks per year. Most of the areas where humans and crocodiles live together are from civilized societies. They also happen in areas where there is political unrest, so studying them is difficult.
Why Do Crocodiles Attack Humans?
Crocodiles attack humans when the human is a threat. Unlike alligators, crocodiles do not fear humans, making them more dangerous.
Crocodiles are more aggressive than alligators. Sometimes, they also see humans as food. If there is a scarcity of resources, they are more likely to attack humans.
Crocodiles, being opportunistic predators, almost do not care what they hunt. If they can subdue and overpower the target, they will do it.
Do Crocodiles Attack On Land?
Crocodiles do attack on land, but not as often as they attack in water. In Australia, about 8.5% of crocodile attacks happen on land. Some people camp and pitch their tents close to a crocodile’s nest, which is why the crocs attack them.
Crocodiles will also attack humans who tent near the water. Some would even go as far as attacking the boat. There was one incident where a crocodile managed to topple a boat but did not attack the humans in the water.
Read More: Can Crocodiles Kill Hippos?
How Do Crocodiles Kill Humans?
Crocodiles kill humans by drowning and eating them. A crocodile’s bite has more than 3,000 pounds per square inch of power. This power is way beyond what a human body can handle.
If the crocodile manages to bite a limb, it will do a death roll. A death roll happens when a crocodile keeps its grip on a limb, and then it rolls many times really fast. The force of this spin is what severs the human limb from the body.
Related Article: Are Crocodiles Powerful Apex Predators?
What Are The Deadliest Species Of Crocodiles?
The Nile and the saltwater crocodiles are the most dangerous species, and the largest reptiles on earth, but there are others that have been known to attack humans.
These attacks happen in remote places where people also live. It is rare for a crocodile to attack in sanctuaries, though, as these environments are heavily regulated.
1. Black Caiman
Although technically not a crocodile (the caiman is an alligator), the Black Caiman can grow up to 13 feet. Large ones are known to attack people. Between 2008 and 2013, there were 43 recorded attacks.
Black caimans live in the Amazon River basin, in Peru, Ecuador, and other countries in South America. They typically eat fish, other reptiles, and mammals. One of its favorite foods is the capybara, a large type of rodent.
2. Mugger Crocodile
Also called the marsh crocodile, it is a freshwater species that lives in lakes and wetlands. They are often found in Iran and some countries in Southeast Asia.
They can grow to 16.5 feet, and they feed on fish and reptiles. Some are capable of feeding on larger prey like deer. There were ten recorded attacks on humans from 2008 to 2013. About a third of these recorded attacks resulted in fatalities.
3. American Crocodile
One of the biggest species of the crocs, the American crocodile, can grow up to 16.5 feet. They live not only in America but also in Florida, Mexico, and Cuba.
Today, the American crocodile is breeding with Cuban crocodiles, and it is an issue that may result in the extinction of the Cuban species.
They occupy a wide range of habitats, including saline water, and thus they have many encounters with human beings. Ninety people got attacked by this species in the same period as the first two crocs above. Out of these attacks, 20 people died.
4. Saltwater Crocodile
The “Saltie,” as people call it, lives in Southeast Asia. It can grow up to 20 feet and weigh 500 kilograms. They live not just in saltwater but also in freshwater environments.
These crocodiles were responsible for 30 attacks on people between 2000 and 2007. One-fourth of these attacks were fatal. In Malaysia, half of all the attacks resulted in the death of the victims.
Saltwater crocodiles have a special gland on their tongue that allows them to stay in the water without the salt affecting them.
5. Nile Crocodile
The most dangerous of all, the Nile crocodile has a habitat spanning most of the continent of Africa. It lives in streams, lakes, and the Nile River. The adults vary in size, but they can reach 20 feet. The average length is 16.5 feet.
Because of its wide range, the Nile crocodile will always cross paths with humans. It is widely believed that it is responsible for at least 300 attacks on human beings in Africa per year.
Crocodiles attack human beings. They attack because of territorial encroachment, stress, or if they are hungry. They attack in rivers, but they can also do so on land.
The average estimate for crocodile attacks per year is 1,000. However, this number is debatable. It is difficult to obtain an accurate figure because many of the human attacks happen in remote areas.
Stuart is the editor of Fauna Facts. He edits our writers’ work as well as contributing his own content. Stuart is passionate about sustainable farming and animal welfare and has written extensively on cows and geese for the site.