Do crocodiles and alligators attack underwater?

Yes, crocodiles and alligators attack underwater. Some people say that they don’t, but this is one of the most dangerous myths that one can believe in as far as crocodilians are concerned.

Both crocs and alligators hunt underwater. They eat fish, turtles, and even sharks. People say they do not attack underwater because most shows only portray crocodilians as ambush predators by the riverbanks.

Do crocodiles and alligators attack underwater

Can crocodiles bite underwater?

Yes, crocodiles can bite underwater and will do it if there is an opportunity. Unfortunately, crocodiles do not just hunt for food on land, but many people choose to believe so.

When crocodiles are underwater, they bite and open their mouths the way they do on land. However, there is one thing they do that prevents them from drowning.

Crocodiles have a palatal valve at the back of the mouth. It opens and closes to take water in or block it. When crocodiles but underwater, this valve closes.

Once the croc has the prey in its mouth, it can drag the prey underwater until it drowns. It can also do a death roll underwater to break the limb of its prey.

Related Article: Do Crocodiles Live in Swamps?

Can alligators bite underwater?

Yes, they do. The way alligators work underwater is the same as the true crocodiles. The gators also have a palatal valve that opens and shuts when they are underwater.

Can alligators swallow underwater? Yes, they can. Crocodiles can do the same. However, when they swallow underwater, they also swallow water, and it is not good.

What gators do is take the prey above the surface and then bite off chunks from there. Sometimes, a gator or crocodile will rise above the water with the prey in its jaws and then snap its head violently. This action breaks a chunk of the prey, which the alligator can swallow above the water. 

Related Article: Do Crocodiles Live in the Rainforest?

Do crocodiles walk underwater

Yes, crocodiles walk underwater. When a crocodile wants to stay submerged, it exhales air. If the lungs do not have air, the crocodile is not buoyant. Underwater, a crocodile either swims or walks on the riverbed.

Do alligators walk underwater?

Yes, like the crocodile, an alligator walks underwater to prowl. Some alligators may do this to hide. When alligators and crocodiles walk underwater, they also hunt for fish, mollusks, and other creatures that they can eat.

Related Article: Do Crocodiles Swim?

How do crocodiles and alligators attack underwater?

When crocodiles and alligators attack underwater, they open their mouths and snap their jaws. This action is the same as what they do on land.

However, there is a problem. Since water is dense, it does have an impact on the crocodile’s bite power. It does not mean that it is not effective; it is just that the bite is not as powerful.

On land, the bite of a crocodile generates 3,700 PSI of force. No one has measured the bite underwater, but logic dictates that the force is lower.

After biting, the crocodile holds on to the prey. The croc may drag the prey deeper to drown it. On some occasions, they will also attempt to start eating.

It all depends on the environment. In a place where there are a dozen or so crocodiles, these crocs and gators will eat in a frenzy. Some will bite underwater, while some will eat at the surface.

Related Article: How Strong Are Alligators?

Can crocodiles and alligators eat underwater?

Yes, they can eat underwater, but they rarely do this. Swallowing underwater means the crocs are also swallowing water. Like other land animals, they cannot have too much water or drown.

Contrary to what many people think, crocodiles cannot breathe underwater. They have lungs and must breathe through their nostrils to take oxygen.

Some studies suggest that crocodiles can last up to two hours underwater, but this is a stretch. On average, they can stay submerged for 15 minutes, but some will last for one hour.

Related Article: How strong is a crocodile bite force?

How to stay safe from crocodile and alligator attacks

Prevention is always better than cure. If a river, lake, mangrove, or swamp is known to have crocs, the best thing a person can do is stay away from it.

The only thing to do to stay safe from underwater crocodile and alligator attacks is never to swim. Below are some more safety tips for various situations.

Related Article: What attracts alligators and crocodiles?

1. Stay away from the water’s edge

The water’s edge is crocodile territory. Crocs and gators can jump and snag a prey on a riverbank. It is one of their most effective ambush techniques.

Related Article: Are Alligators Bulletproof?

2. Do not wade in shallow water

Crocodiles have a way to hide underwater. Their color also serves as excellent camouflage. Anyone wading in shallow water is in grave danger. If a croc manages to bite a prey, the croc will drag this prey into deeper water until the prey drowns.

3. Take special care when in boats

People must never pull or push the boat from the water. It is a dangerous thing to do. It is also not safe for someone to sit at the back of a boat, as crocodiles can jump out and bite.

Another thing that is not safe to do is extend the limbs outside the boat. These hands are easy targets for crocs. One must also not lean towards the water, as a crocodile can jump and bite.

4. Do not camp near water

It is not a sensible idea to camp near a crocodile or alligator habitat. There have been some reports of people who did this, only to get attacked in their tents.

Alligators and crocodiles are territorial not only of their habitat but also of their nests. On top of this, they are also opportunistic hunters—humans on land are tasty prey, so people must beware.

Summary: Do crocodiles and alligators attack underwater?

Yes, alligators and crocodiles attack underwater. They can open their mouths, close the palatal valve, and hold onto the prey underwater. This behavior is not commonly seen as it is difficult to take videos of crocodiles and alligators underwater. To stay safe, people should never wade, let alone swim, in croc- or gator-infested waters. Water is gator and croc territory, and anyone who falls victim to a crocodilian’s bite is not likely to survive.

Skip to content