Currently set to Index
Currently set to Follow

Do Crocodiles Eat Turtles?

Do Crocodiles Eat Turtles

Yes, crocodiles eat turtles. Despite the hard shell of a turtle, a crocodile can exert a bite force of 3,700 pounds per square inch. It is enough to crush the turtle’s shell.

While turtles are not on the regular diet of crocs, they can and will eat a turtle if the opportunity is there. Crocodiles mostly live in Australia, Asia, and Africa, where the turtle population is scarce. Crocodiles also live in estuaries, while most turtles live in tropical and subtropical areas.

Can crocodiles digest turtle shells?

Crocodile camouflage

Yes, crocodiles can digest turtle shells. A turtle shell is like redesigned ribs. It is made up of various elements, most of which is keratin—the same thing that makes up the hair and nails of other animals.

Crocodiles can digest this substance, and they can even digest bones. When crocodiles eat, their hearts digest deoxygenated blood to the stomach. This blood is rich in acidic carbon dioxide, which makes the stomach produce a huge volume of acidic gastric juice.

Crocodiles can secrete stomach acid so much that they can digest bones. In addition, studies indicate that they produce stomach acid ten times faster than animals and humans.

Related Article: Are There Crocodiles in Florida?

How do crocodiles eat turtles?

Crocodiles hunt turtles if they are at sea. Sometimes, species of freshwater turtles also find themselves in crocodile habitats. If they cross paths with a croc, they are a guaranteed meal.

Unlike other animals, turtles are slow. The crocodile does not have to exert a lot of effort to hunt a kill the turtle. The only thing a crocodile has to do is bite the turtle several times until it manages to crush the shell.

Why do crocodiles eat turtles?

box turtle

Crocodiles are fierce predators, and they are carnivores. If there are animals they are afraid of in the wild, it is the hippo and the elephant.Turtles are fair game to crocodiles. However, the turtles are slow, and the crocodiles can break their shell.

Crocodiles eat turtles because they have to. They need to eat. While crocodiles do not feed daily, they hunt what is available. Turtles are too small to satiate a crocodile’s hunger, but they will do for snacks.

Related Article: Is Crocodile Considered Seafood?

What are the similarities between crocodiles and turtles?

Both these animals are reptiles. All reptiles belong to the class Reptilia, and they all breathe air, unlike amphibians that can breathe through their skin.

Reptiles are vertebrates, which means they have backbones. While turtles do not look like they have a backbone, they do. Their spine is in the shell. Crocodiles and turtles also have epidermal scales.

Both also lay eggs in the sand. While turtles usually lay eggs on the beach, crocodiles lay eggs in the mud. Unlike crocodiles, however, turtles do not guard their eggs. After laying, they leave, and the small turtles hatch by themselves.

Both turtles and crocodiles are cold-blooded animals. It is why they both need to bask under the sun. Being ectothermic animals, they cannot regulate their body temperature. Their body temperature depends on their environment.

Those who keep turtles as pets know that they need light to get warm. In the wild, both turtles and crocodiles leave the water and sunbathe. They need to do this to keep warm, especially so during winter. 

Most turtles are omnivores, but some are carnivores, like the alligator snapping turtle. This turtle is called this way because its shell resembles the back of an alligator. It has spikes.

What makes a turtle shell hard?

Leatherback Turtle

The shell of a turtle is hard because it is made of several things. It is made of bones and square plates. These plates are called scutes. Crocodiles also have scutes—these are the bony plate and armor that protects them.

The main material for a turtle’s outer shell is keratin. Inside, a connection of bones fuses with the turtle’s rib cage and spine. 

Underneath the shell is the plastron. It is nearly flat, and it is what people see at the bottom of the shell. It is also made of bones.

The turtle’s shell is so hard that it can withstand a lot of pressure. The fracture toughness of a turtle’s shell is at 36.4 megapascals or about 522 pounds per square inch. It means that it takes 500+ PSI to break the shell.The shell is stronger than aluminum, which has a toughness pressure of 22 megapascals.

As far as humans are concerned, the strongest punch that was ever recorded was that of Mike Tyson’s at 1,800 PSI. That power is enough to crush a turtle’s shell.

Are there other animals that eat turtles?

turtle eating aquatic plants

Yes, crocodiles are not the only animals that eat turtles. Their cousins, the alligators, also much on turtles from time to time.

Turtles have few predators because they are hard to eat. The only thing that a turtle has to do to keep safe is retract its head and limbs when a predator is around.

Honey badgers, however, eat turtles. They have powerful teeth that can puncture a turtle’s shell. In the see, the shark also preys on turtles.

Do crocodiles eat tortoises?

Galapagos Giant Tortoise

Probably. Tortoises live in sand dunes, scrub forests, grasslands, and mountainsides. These are not the typical habitat of a crocodile. Tortoises prefer semi-arid zones.

There are tortoises in the Americas, Africa, Europe, and some parts of Asia. Many crocodiles live in Asia, Australia, and Africa. As such, they may not have a lot of opportunities for an encounter.

Hypothetically, a crocodile will have difficulties eating an adult tortoise. Tortoises are huge—they have big domes for a shell. A crocodile can bite the elephantine leg of the tortoise, but this is also difficult to do, as the croc’s jaw angle is perpendicular to the turtle’s vertical legs.

If the croc tries to grab a tortoise’s head, the tortoise will retract its head to its shell. There is no way a croc can bite the tortoise’s shell because a croc cannot open its mouth 180 degrees. The shell is much bigger than a crocodile’s mouth.

Summary

Turtles are not a big part of a crocodile’s diet because their habitats vary. Especially so for tortoises, they do not often get to meet crocodiles.

Crocodiles will eat turtles, and they can do it because they have powerful jaws. Their bite force is the strongest in the world. Particularly, the saltwater crocodile is the king of bites, registering 3,700 PSI of bite force.

Skip to content