Crocodiles have many different predators, such as big cats like jaguars or leopards, and big serpents like anacondas and pythons. Other predators of crocs include hippos and elephants. Baby crocodiles are especially vulnerable to predators, and they’re hunted by herons, egrets, and eagles, and even wild pigs.
Crocodiles are one of the most feared animal species in the world. They’ll attack and eat almost any animal that comes its way, so it’s not a choosy predator.
But crocodiles are sometimes susceptible to surprise attacks, especially when they’re nice and comfortable resting in the water. That’s when larger snakes such as pythons take the opportunity to wrap themselves around the crocodile, kill it, and then eat it whole.
Baby crocodiles are especially vulnerable to predator attacks, especially if they’re alone. Various animals take the opportunity to hunt them and eat them.
In this article, you’ll find a list of the most common crocodile predators and a description of how they hunt down these animals.
What Eats Crocodiles? (Top 10 Predators)
These are the most common animals that eat predators.
Jaguars are known to eat crocodiles. Crocodiles and wild cats are usually direct competitors for the prey in their domains. And jaguars are the apex predators, meaning they don’t have any real natural predators. They’re much faster than crocodiles, allowing them to strike first and thus, win the fight.
Usually, jaguars will use their agility and speed to get in behind the crocodiles and surprise them. They’ll strike from behind and attack them by jumping on their backs, which is a massive area of weakness for crocodiles. Smaller species of crocodiles simply can’t cope with the strength and speed of the jaguars, especially on land.
Leopards are known to eat crodociles. Like jaguars, leopards also compete with the crocodiles for land and prey. That’s why they will attack them and try to get rid of them to establish dominance over other species. But they’ll also attack crocodiles for food, as they’re a rich source of protein and fat.
Leopards will normally attack smaller crocodile species as well as baby crocs. When these find themselves stranded on land, they are not able to fend off the fierce leopard attacks. These attacks will only happen when crocodiles come out of water.
The python is one of the most ruthless predators in the wild. They’ll squeeze their prey to death, giving them no chance of escape. Pythons will normally hide on trees, branches, and underwater in order to surprise the crocodile.
But pythons are not poisonous animals, so they won’t kill their prey by biting it. Instead, the python will wrap around the body of the prey and suffocate it to death. With this mechanism, the python is capable of hunting animals that are much larger than themselves.
Once the prey is dead, the python will ingest it whole. They’re able to eat and swallow much larger animals than them, which might suffice for several days to keep them fed. Crocodiles are susceptible to being eaten by pythons when they’re not able to prepare.
Anacondas are quite similar to pythons when it comes to hunting. They don’t chase their prey, but they ambush it. That’s how they are able to catch crocodiles, especially the smaller ones. They will wait for hours on trees, waiting for an unsuspecting crocodile to pass by.
The anaconda will do its best hunting when it gets dark. And even though crocodiles have pretty good eyesight during the night, they simply cannot expect an attack coming from above. Sometimes, anacondas will even ambush the crocodile in the water, giving it no chance to fight back.
The crocodile and the hippo are direct competitors in many different habitats, especially in Africa and South America. The prey is usually not that plentiful in many of these areas, so the larger animals will have to compete for it.
And hippos are much larger than crocodiles, so they’re able to fight them with their sheer power. Hippos are one of the most aggressive species in the world, and won’t hesitate to attack the crocodile – or any other species that comes its way, for that matter.
Elephants will also kill crocodiles, but this is not as common as with some other species. This will only happen if the crocodile provokes the elephant and tries to attack the baby elephants that might be lurking around.
That’s when the bigger elephants will come and try to protect the baby elephant. They’re ferocious when they get angry, and will often fight back against the crocodile with its feet and trunk. Although elephants are not always successful in their fight against the crocodile, it is yet another species that can kill an elephant.
Now we’re moving to animals that will only eat crocodile babies. The heron is one of those species – though they will only attack very small croc babies, usually the ones that have just been hatched and born.
These will get guarded by larger crocodiles almost constantly. But once the mother crocodile leaves the small crocodiles alone in order to get food, it’s a great chance for the heron to strike and eat the baby crocs. But if the heron gets caught by the larger crocodiles, it usually won’t end well for them.
Egrets will also only attack the baby crocodiles, and they’ll use similar mechanisms as herons do. These animals are sneaky animals. They’ll wait for their opportunity, as they’re quite opportunistic in nature. Their attacks will not always succeed, but baby crocodiles can present an important source of food for egrets.
Crocodiles can’t defend themselves from attacks from the air. They are vulnerable to attacks that will strike their backs, as they can’t turn around quickly enough to repel those attacks. Also, they’re not quick enough to outrun the speed of an eagle, which is why crocodiles, especially the smaller species, are so vulnerable against eagles.
The eagle is very good at sniffing out opportunities to strike from very high altitudes, leaving its prey unaware of the potential threat. Baby crocodiles are especially vulnerable against these attacks, as are some smaller alligator and crocodile species.
10. Other Crocodiles
Yes, cannibalism is present among crocodiles, but it’s not very common. This will ONLY happen where there is no other food around, and only when a larger croc encounters a smaller species.
Adult crocodiles won’t each other because they’re too big for each other. But if the other crocodile is small enough and it threatens to usurp the territory of the larger crocodile, then it will not hesitate to kill it – and even eat it! This will mainly only happen with males, while larger males will leave female crocs be if they enter their area.
Crocodiles are normally viewed as fierce and dominant animals that don’t spare many animals that come into their territories. However, they’re not always able to protect themselves, especially against larger species and some snake species such as anacondas and pythons.
To defend themselves, they’ll use their teeth and strong jaws to strike back. But when they’re attacked from above or behind, they have little to no chance to strike back, especially if the attacks are quick and fierce.