Friday, July 11, 2014

Nile Crocodile

The Nile crocodile is an incredibly impressive killing machine. It is the second largest reptile in the world (after the saltwater crocodile). It averages between 13 and 16 feet in length and 900 pounds in weight. 
Eight Nile crocodiles bask on the bank of the Mara River in Masai Mara NR, in Kenya. A ninth is in the water by the rocks and looks like a log. These crocs grow large from feeding on the animals that migrate across the Mara each year. We were told that the wildebeest, zebra and other animals will congregate on the banks and then cross all at once, instinctively understanding that a few will be lost, but that more will cross to safety that way. Photo by Mark Edwards.
A closer view of four of the same crocodiles. 
An even closer view as one of the large crocs on the bank got up and ambled down to and into the Mara River. I would not want to be in the water when one of these is around. 
However, these crocs can get larger. The largest was shot in Tanzania and was 21 feet, 2 inches and weighed 2,400 pounds. It can wait long periods of time for prey, which it ambushes in water, and its sharp teeth and powerful bite makes its bite almost impossible to loosen. It holds large prey underwater, such as wildebeest, to drown it. 
This Nile crocodile was on the banks of the Ewaso Ng'iro River in Buffalo Springs NR in northern Kenya. Another crocodile, basking nearby, did so with its mouth wide open, something they do when they are hot. 
A closer look at the dangerous teeth. This croc was also on the banks of the Ewaso Ng'iro River, a number of miles downstream, in Shaba NR. 
They have a hierarchy according to size: the largest crocs get the best basking spots and first access to food. They are very dangerous and kill hundreds of people each year. 
This crocodile was along the Mara River. Photo by Steven Shuel.
They are common in much of central and east Africa, including Kenya and Tanzania. They are gray to gray/olive above with black spots on the back. The sides are yellow/green with dark patches in strips and the belly is a yellow to dirty purple. Those in streams are lighter than those in lakes or swamps.   
This crocodile was near the Sarova Shaba Lodge along the Ewaso Ng'iro River. Sacred ibises do not seem concerned at all. Photo by Esmee Tooke. 


  1. Never smile at a crocodile, even if he's smiling at you. He's thinking you look very tasty.

  2. 2400 lbs? Seriously? Don't be taken in by his welcome grin, he's imaging how well you'd fit within his skin.

  3. Impressive! After living in Florida for a few years, I understand that crocodiles are generally more fearsome than the alligators that used to hang out in our backyard. Those jaws are nightmarish!