Saltwater crocodiles, like other crocodile species, eat everything. As carnivores, they are not prejudiced against any animal species. However, since “salties” live in various habitats, their diets also vary.
As the largest species in the crocodilian family, the saltwater crocodile is not choosy as far as food is concerned. They eat prey according to what is available—they need it if they want to grow to their full potential.
Animals That Saltwater Crocodiles Eat
When the saltwater crocodile is small, it will target frogs and other amphibians like salamanders and newts, provided that these animals wander in the crocodile’s territory.
Interestingly, the saltwater crocodile seems to have some level of immunity from cane toads. A cane toad excretes poison, and many predators die after attempting to eat it.
Saltwater crocodiles are not fully immune to the cane toad’s poison. Instead, they are only partially immune. They can only eat the poison in small quantities.
2. Crustaceans and Mollusks
As the young saltwater crocodile grows, it will attack crabs and mollusks in the habitat. They can eat mud crabs, especially so if the croc is in a mangrove. Crocs will also eat gastropods and cephalopods.
3. Snakes and Lizards
As a seagoing species, the saltwater croc will eat sea snakes. If the saltwater crocodile lives in an estuary, it will eat land snakes, such as pythons.
Crocodiles also eat lizards, but they are not really part of their diet. Lizards are quick animals, and it is not likely for a crocodile to succeed in this hunt.
Saltwater crocodiles eat fish regardless of age. It is not unusual for crocodiles to attack fish, and some will even go after a shark.
As a crocodile grows, its diet also becomes highly varied. The bigger it gets, the more powerful it becomes. When it is young, it has no other choice but to attack small animals only.
Saltwater crocodiles are ferocious hunters. As the biggest of all crocodiles, they also have the power to take down the biggest mammalian prey. Below are some examples of the mammals they eat:
- Greater mouse deer
- Hog deer
- Primates like macaques and monkeys
- Golden jackals
Unlike fish and crustaceans, mammals are rare. So if a crocodile wants to hunt for a mammal, it has to find a location where the mammals converge. Usually, it is close to a tree near the water. Saltwater crocs also lurk at the banks, waiting for mammals to drink.
6. Birds and Bats
Saltwater crocodiles attack wading birds. However, this is not a regular part of their diet, as birds stay on tree branches, and it is difficult for crocodiles to make the kill.
Some bats and birds hang in low branches. And if this happens, the crocodile has a high chance of success. A saltwater crocodile can propel itself out of the water—it uses its tail to do this.
Frequently Asked Questions
Do saltwater crocodiles eat humans?
Yes, the saltwater crocodile attacks and eat humans. Among all croc species, the saltwater and the Nile crocodiles are the two most fearsome as far as human attacks are concerned.
What makes it worrisome is that, unlike alligators, the saltwater crocodile does not attack humans to defend its territory. It attacks humans because to it, human is food. Most saltwater croc attacks happen in Asia and Australia, and about 25% of these attacks are fatal.
Do saltwater crocodiles eat sharks?
Yes, they do. In Australia, an angler captured this event on video. The shark was a bull shark, and the crocodile munched on it.
In the video, the angler caught the shark. Then, the saltwater crocodile lunged at it. It is not unusual for anglers to lose their catch to bigger fish, but seeing a crocodile snatch their catch is not something that typically happens.
Do saltwater crocodiles eat fish?
Yes, saltwater crocodiles eat fish. Be it a juvenile or an adult fish, the saltwater crocodile preys on fish. Where they live, fish is always abundant, and they will eat fish whenever they can.
Do saltwater crocodiles eat dingoes?
Probably, but there is no documented evidence for this. Dingoes live in Australia, where the saltwater crocodile also has territories.
However, dingoes do not usually live close to bodies of water. They also hunt in packs. About 77% of their diet is of mammals, so they do not really go close to the sea or the estuary.
Do saltwater crocodiles eat manatees?
Manatees live in marshy coastal areas. They are present in the Amazon basin and also in freshwater areas in the United States. Surprisingly, alligators do not attack the manatees.
Crocodiles do not actively pursue manatees because they do not meet. Some gators attack baby manatees, but not the adult ones. Gator attacks on manatees are rare. Saltwater crocodiles, on the other hand, do not even cross paths with the manatee.
Do saltwater crocodiles eat great white shark?
Studies confirm that saltwater crocodiles attack and eat sharks. However, there is no documented evidence that a saltwater crocodile will attack a great white shark.
A search online will not yield any substantial video or study whether or not a saltwater crocodile has even met a great white shark.
The Great White Shark lives offshore. What it means is that they hunt in deep waters. Some of them hunt in waters as deep as 1,200 meters or 3,900 feet. Crocodiles do not travel this far. Even if they go to the ocean, they stay close to the shore.
Do saltwater crocodiles eat kangaroos?
Yes, they do. Crocodiles attack hapless kangaroos that drink water. Like any big animal, the kangaroo is an ideal prey for a croc. The crocodile will stay hidden underwater and lunge at the kangaroo. The croc then drowns the kangaroo.
The saltwater crocodile is the biggest of its species. As such, it is not choosy when it comes to its diet. It will attack anything. Unlike the alligator, a saltwater crocodile is not afraid of anything, and it is not an opportunistic feeder—it is a ferocious hunter that will not back down.
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