What Do Crocodiles Eat? (Crocodile Diet Explained)

Crocodiles are carnivores, which means they will only eat meat. Although we often see them on TV hunting larger prey like zebra or wildebeest, crocodiles also eat fish, birds, and even insects.

There are 13 species of crocodiles, and all of them are carnivores.

What Do Crocodiles Eat

5 Animals That Crocodiles Eat

1. Wildebeest

Wildebeests migrate in the Serengeti plains in search of water. Some 1.5 million of them migrate to these plains. In addition, wildebeest give birth in the same month every year, making their population swell. 

Young wildebeest can run as fast as their mothers in two days. Crocodiles hide underwater, waiting for wildebeest to come to drink, where it can attack.

Crocodiles can only take down such large prey because they are so large themselves. (The longest crocodiles are over 20ft long.)

2. Zebras

Zebras are nomadic grazers, which means they need to constantly move to find fresh grass as the herd depletes the grass available.

Zebras must cross rivers to reach new grazing grounds, and hundreds of crocodiles lay in wait in the water for them.

It is during this crossing that the zebras are vulnerable. Crocodiles have powerful bites, and lock onto their prey, rolling around until the zebra is incapacitated.

3. Frogs

Small crocodiles eat frogs and other amphibians, but larger crocodiles need more substantial prey to sustain themselves.

Baby crocodiles hunt frogs on land or in the water.

4. Fish

Crocodiles hunt fish underwater.

Crocodiles can sometimes hunt in groups. For example, they would swim in circles around a shoal of fish. Once the fish shoal has nowhere to go, the crocodiles take turns cutting across the shoal to snatch the fish. 

Read More: What do Saltwater Crocodiles Eat?

5. Impala

Another crocodile favorite is the impala, a medium-sized antelope common where crocodiles live. In the wild, impalas also need to drink water, and this is how crocodiles catch them. 

Impalas are fast and have keen senses, so crocodiles have to be extremely patient to stand a chance of catching them.

Read More: How Fast can a Crocodile Run?

FAQs

Do Crocodiles Eat Humans?

Crocodiles have been known to eat humans. The two most notorious species for preying on humans are the Nile crocodile and the saltwater crocodile. The Nile crocodile hunts humans in Africa, while attacks from the saltwater crocodile are common in Asia. 

Do Crocodiles Eat Turtles?

Crocodiles do eat turtles. Despite turtles having a protective shell, crocodiles have a powerful bite force that is strong enough to crush them. 

It is a rare sight to behold. Only the big crocs can crush a turtle’s shell. The problem is that big crocodiles also prefer bigger meals, so they would rather prey on mammals. 

Do Crocodiles Eat Birds?

Crocodiles do eat birds. They do this when there are thousands of birds flying low on the water’s surface. It is a difficult hunt, as birds have fast reflexes. 

When crocodiles hunt birds, they “jump” out of the water. If the bird is unlucky enough to fly in the same path as the crocodile’s mouth, it is a goner. 

Do Crocodiles Eat Snakes?

Crocodiles do eat snakes. Most of the time, it is the juvenile crocodiles that do this. A documentary from National Geographic shows a small crocodile snapping a king cobra in the water. 

The snake is merely a snack for the crocodile. As far as the venom is concerned, it will not kill the crocodile. Snake venom is dangerous if injected, but it does nothing if ingested or swallowed. 

Do Crocodiles Eat Capybaras?

Crocodiles commonly eat capybaras where they share a habitat. The capybara is the largest rodent, and they like bathing in the water. Because of this behavior, it is not unusual to meet a deadly fate in the hands or mouths of a crocodile.

Once a crocodile has the capybara in its mouth, the capybara has no mechanism to defend itself.

Do Crocodiles Eat Each Other?

Some crocodiles have been known to attack and eat other crocodiles. Some crocodiles will even attempt to start at the tail of a live one! In places where food is scarce, big crocodiles at the smaller ones. 

On some occasions, a group of crocodiles would prey on one of them. In such cases, they tear the prey crocodile apart.

Do Crocodiles Eat Plants?

Crocodiles are obligate carnivores, which means that they must eat meat to survive. It’s unusual for crocodiles to eat plants, and their main source of plants is plant matter present in the stomachs of their herbivorous prey.

However, eating veggies and fruits does not make them omnivores like humans. Their primary food source is still meat, and they cannot live on fruit and vegetables alone. 

Do Crocodiles Eat Rocks?

Crocodiles are known to eat small rocks and pebbles to help them break up their food, making it easier to digest.

It is not only crocodiles that do this, but some other birds too. The stone that they swallow is called a gastrolith. Crocodiles also do this because it helps in the digestive process. 

Conclusion: What Do Crocodiles Eat?

All crocodile species are carnivores. They mostly hunt underwater, where they are more agile.

Crocodiles feed variously on insects, fish, amphibians, birds, mammals, and even other crocodiles, depending on the species and what food is available to them in their natural habitat.

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