Crocodylus Niloticus - The Crocodile

The Nile crocodile is found throughout Africa. Large, lizard shaped reptile with four short legs and long muscular tail. The hide is rough and scaled. Juvenile Nile crocodiles are dark olive to brown with darker crossbands on tail and body. Adults are uniformly dark with darker crossbands on tail.

Did you know? Mummified crocodiles and their eggs have been found in egyptian tombs.

Crocodile are found throughout South Africa in rivers, freshwater marshes, estuaries and in mangrove swamps.


Length: 2.5 to 5.5m
Weight: up to 1000 kg or more.


They live in lakes, rivers, freshwater swamps and brackish water, in deep pools and on sand banks with suitable nesting spots and a sufficient food supply.


The Nile crocodile is the most common crocodilian found in Africa today. It may look prehistoric, but the Nile crocodile can be found in many reserves and parks in South Africa.

These include the renowned Kruger National Park (an hour from Hoedspruit and about 4.5 hours from Hartbeespoort just outside Johannesburg), iSimangaliso Wetland Park on the Elephant Coast (234km from Durban in KwaZulu-Natal), and the Ndumo Game Reserve, which is just over three hours from St Lucia.


Up to 70% of the adult diet is fish. Other prey items may include zebras, hippos, porcupines, pangolins, and migrating wildebeest.


Crocodiles are gregarious animals. Groups of crocodiles are known as "floats" when in the water, and on lands, groups are referred to as "basks". The group sizes depend primarily on availability of or abundance of food sources and may range from as few as two crocs to as many as 200 individuals in a group.


Sexual maturity relates to size. Males are mature at about 10 feet at approximately 10 years of age, wheras females at about 6.5 feet at approximately 10 years of age.

Incubation: females nest in November and December on sandy shorelines, dry stream beds, or riverbanks.
A female may lay 25 to 100 eggs, which she covers with sand, then guards until they hatch 3 months later. When young crocodiles are hatching, either parent may help them out of the egg by rolling it between their tongue and palate. This cracks the shell allowing for an easier escape.

Life Expectancy

45 years in the wild, up to 80 years in captivity.


  • Nile crocodiles have no natural predators.
  • Outside water, crocodiles can meet competition from other dominant savannah predators, notably lions and leopards

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Where to see Crocodile in their natural habitat?

Want to see Crocodiles in their natural habitat? Crocodiles can be seen in South African reserves and parks including...

Conservation Status
South Africa's Big 5
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