Bear vs Crocodile: Who Would Win in a Fight?

Written by Kyle Glatz
Updated: March 17, 2023
© Scott E Read/
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Bears live all over the world and they come in many shapes and sizes. They can be somewhat small, like the black bear, or they can be a monstrous grizzly bear. Although they are apex predators in most of their environments, we have to wonder what happens when a bear meets its match in the form of a tougher, almost primordial creature: the crocodile. Taking the best elements of bears, we’re going to compare them with the powerful reptiles and tell you what would happen in a bear vs crocodile fight!

Comparing a Bear and a Crocodile

A fight between bears and crocodiles would pit two of the largest predators on Earth.


SizeWeight: 60lbs – 990lbs
Height: 2ft – 5ft at shoulder, up to 9 ft standing.
Length: 4.5ft – 9.5 ft
Weight: 300-2,000lbs
Length: 10ft – 20ft
Speed and Movement Type25-35 mph  – 22 mph on land
– Very fast crawling motion
– 15mph in water propelled by its tail
Bite Power and Teeth1200 PSI bite power at maximum – 2-3-inch teeth
– Teeth allow for bears to bite down, shake, and maul.
3,700PSI bite power
– 4-inch teeth
– 66 teeth
Senses– Some bears can smell from several miles away
– Hearing twice as good as humans
– Good vision and some bears can see better at dusk.
– Great nocturnal vision and underwater vision
– Pressure receptors help crocodiles identify changes around them
Defenses– Large size
– Speed to run away
– Fierce threat displays
– Ability to traverse land and water
-Climbing ability
– Tough scales
– Ability to travel on land and water
– Speed
Offensive Capabilities– Powerful, bone-breaking bites
– Sharp claws that can tear open prey
– Weight to pin down enemies
– Incredibly powerful bite
– Death roll can instantly remove large chunks of flesh.
Predatory Behavior– Ambush predator in some cases, waiting for prey
– Opportunistic predator that pursues and kills prey
– Typically secures a kill with a single, powerful bite to the throat. 
– Ambush predators that wait in the water for prey to approach.

The Key Factors in a Fight Between a Bear and a Crocodile

Blue wildebeest ( Connochaetes taurinus ) being attacked by a huge Nile Crocodile.
Crocodiles can successfully take down large mammals.

©Sergey Uryadnikov/

For the sake of this fight, we’re going to assume that the bear and crocodile represent the largest and strongest version of their species. Thus, the key factors that we have to look at are both their bodies as well as how they attack other creatures.

Both the crocodile and bear are apex predators in their areas in the vast majority of cases. Large grizzly bears are at the top of the food chain and so are crocodiles. As a result, we need to carefully evaluate each animal and find out which has the advantages in this fight.

Physical Features of a Bear and a Crocodile

Deadliest Animals in America
Bears can weigh almost 1,000lbs and stand 9ft tall.


Bears and crocodiles have very different bodies that give them certain advantages over the other. We’re going to consider five broad factors of their physicality and assign advantages to each. That way, we have a clear picture of which animal is the more dangerous physical specimen.  

Bear vs Crocodile: Size

Bears range in size, but the largest of them can weigh up to 990lbs and stand up to 9ft tall when on two legs. The largest recorded bear on record was a polar bear which weighed 2,209lbs! Crocodiles can reach weights beyond 2,000lbs or more and grow over 20ft long.

Crocodiles have a size advantage over bears.

Bear vs Crocodile: Speed and Movement

Bears are very swift animals, especially considering their size. They can reach speeds of 25-35 mph when chasing prey, giving them little time to react. They are not agile creatures, though.

Crocodiles can move fast on land in short bursts, hitting a top speed of 22mph. Crocodiles are far less agile than bears when moving on land because of their cumbersome bodies and preference for water-based travel. They can still twist and turn very fast when they sense an enemy nearby.

Bears have an advantage in speed.  

Bear vs Crocodile: Bite Power and Teeth

Bears use their powerful, 3-inch teeth to hear into their foes. Their bite force is about 1,200 PSI at maximum, more than enough to inflict harsh wounds. Crocodiles have the strongest measured bite of any creature at 3,700 PSI along with 4-inch teeth to dig into foes.

Crocodiles have far stronger bites and much stronger teeth.

Bear vs Crocodile: Senses

Bears are predators, and they use their senses to find their prey. They have a powerful sense of smell that helps them locate food from miles away. Their hearing is believed to be about twice as good as humans, and they have good vision.

Crocodiles have great vision at night and in the water, but their other senses aren’t as acute. They can sense pressure changes using receptors in their skin that helps them locate other animals in the water.

All in all, bears have better senses.

Bear vs Crocodile: Physical Defenses

Bears have thick fur and skin below that to help ward off attacks by others. Theoretically, they can also use their speed to escape trouble, but they are usually the most dangerous creature in any given area, so they don’t run away often.

Crocodiles are swift on land and very fast in water. They also have thick scales on their body that reduce the effectiveness of attacks against them.

All in all, the two have such similar defenses that they tie for this factor.

Combat Skills of a Bear and a Crocodile

Deadliest Animal in the World: Crocodiles
Crocodiles are deadly creatures that have barely changed in millions of years; they’re perfect killing machines.

©Phil Hyde/

Bears use every part of their body to attack. They can use their powerful forelegs to inflict a devastating swat on foes while gashing them open with claws. They may also use their bodyweight and forelegs to hold down an enemy and maul it with their large, powerful teeth.

Crocodiles are ambush hunters, though. They hide until the time comes to attack. They lash out at a foe, grab onto a part of their body, and crush the bone beneath with a powerful bite. Also, they can latch onto an enemy with their conical teeth and do a rolling technique that is aptly named a death roll.

A death roll can amputate limbs or do such serious damage that the body part is maimed, ruined, or ripped open.

Both creatures are incredibly deadly, so we’re not going to assign an advantage here.

What Are Key Differences Between a Bear and a Crocodile?

Kamchatka Brown Bear
Bears weigh less than the largest crocodiles.

©Marie Dirgova/

Bears are mammals that can be ambush hunters as well as opportunists. Crocodiles are reptiles that are strictly ambush hunters. Crocodiles are longer and heavier than bears, and they have a much more powerful bite than bears.

Bears have better senses than crocodiles, and they are stronger overall than crocodiles. Also, bears are faster on land than crocodiles. Both creatures rely on their bites to finish off enemies.  

Of course, their bodies are very different as well. Crocodiles prefer to swim in the water and scamper on land. Bears are capable swimmers, but they run on four legs and stand on two when confronting foes. Both animals are very different but also very dangerous.

Who Would Win in a Fight Between a Bear and a Crocodile?

World's Scariest Animal: Nile Crocodile
Crocodiles are too large and strong for bears to overcome.

©Mari Swanepoel/

A fully grown saltwater crocodile would win a fight against the largest bears. Size matters in these fights and crocodiles have that advantage. Bears are undoubtedly strong, but they’ve never faced anything like a crocodile to know their weaknesses.

A crocodile would wait for a bear to drink from the water and then quickly emerge from the water, attacking bears on the head where they have the least amount of fat and fur to protect them. The crocodile could use its immense weight to pull the bear into the water with them and inflict massive trauma in short order.

On land, the bear could possibly win a fight if it managed to flip over a crocodile and attack its underside. However, this fight would not be over quickly: the bear would need to do a lot of damage to finally kill the reptile. In the meantime, the crocodile only needs to grab a leg, bite their head, or attack another sensitive area, like the groin.

In short, crocodiles have enough advantages to win the fight, but a smart, large, bear could potentially win. It’s just less likely.  

What Animal Can Take Down a Crocodile?

Great white sharks are the ocean's apex predators.
Great white sharks are capable of weighing 5,000 lbs compared to saltwater crocodiles which are capable of growing to 2,900 lbs


It would take a truly impressive apex predator to be capable of taking down the monster known as Crocodylus porosus, the saltwater crocodile. Such as the great white shark.

The largest specimens are capable of reaching 16 feet and weighing between 4,200 – 5,000 lbs. There is also their bite force of 4,000 psi not to mention their ability to move through the water at 35 mph. That speed means they are faster than a saltie at maximum speed since the latter is only capable of racing at 18 mph.

In comparison, the saltwater crocodiles are capable of growing to 2,900 lbs with a bite force of 3,700 psi. However, that impressive size, notwithstanding, taking on these predators of the oceans could prove quite disastrous for the reptile. Especially in light of the fact that sharks are far more at home in the ocean compared to salties.

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About the Author

I've been a freelance writer since 2013, and I've written in a variety of niches such as managed service providers, animals, and retail distribution. I graduated from Rowan University in 2014. When I'm not working, I enjoy playing video games, reading, and writing for fun.

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