Could an Unarmed Human Beat a Crocodile?

Written by Kyle Glatz
Updated: August 10, 2023
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Humans are incredibly versatile creatures that have risen to the top of the global food chain. Humanity’s collective ability to tinker, create, and pass down our knowledge has allowed us to become the dominant species on Earth, capable of taking down any animal.

Yet, stripping away all the inventions, tools, and weaponry that we have developed leaves humans quite helpless and makes us wonder if humans stand a chance against other animals. Would an unarmed human beat a crocodile in a fight?

We’re going to compare humans and crocodiles, size the two up against one another, and show you what would happen if they were to clash with each other.  

Comparing an Unarmed Human and a Crocodile

Size and offensive abilities are major differences between a crocodile and an unharmed human.
Unarmed HumanCrocodile
SizeWeight: between 130 and 199 pounds
Height: between 5 feet 3 inches and 5 feet 9 inches on average
Weight: between 40 and 2,200 pounds
Length: 5.5 feet to 23 feet
Speed– Average running speed between 6.5 and 8 mph
– 27.5 mph top speed observed
– Top speed of 3 to 5 mph on land
– Top swimming speed of about 15 to 18 mph
Defenses– Decent senses can help humans identify and avoid danger
– Superior intelligence and problem-solving skills
– Ability to navigate in a variety of environments
– Thick, scaly skin with scutes that provide extra protection
– Skin color helps them stay hidden in the water and on land in some situations
– Large size makes them difficult to attack
– Can fight on land and in the water, but they fight far better in the water
Offensive Capabilities– Bite force of between 120 and 160 PSI as an adult
– Physically fit adult humans can lift their body weight and squat even more
– Can deliver punches, kicks, gouges, implement chokes, and use other means to defend themselves
– Delivers an incredibly powerful bite measuring 3,700 PSI
– Has 66 conical teeth that shred flesh and hold prey in place
– Can bite their prey and then roll over and over to remove limbs    
Predatory Behavior– Ambush predators as well as cursorial predators
– The top predator on the planet when armed
– Ambush predator that strikes from the edge of the water    

What Are the Key Differences Between an Unarmed Human and a Crocodile?

The major differences between an unarmed human and a crocodile are found in their morphology, size, and raw power. Humans are relatively weak primate-descended mammals that stand up to 5 feet 9 inches tall and weigh up to 199 pounds on average.

They may lift their body weight with their arms and about one-and-a-half times their weight with their legs. Meanwhile, crocodiles are quadrupedal reptiles that can measure up to 23 feet long, weigh over 2,200 pounds, and have a tremendous amount of biting power despite lacking other forms of exertion with their short legs.

These significant differences will decide how humans and crocodiles manage to fight one another. Still, we need more data before we say which animal is most likely to win this bout.

What Are the Key Factors in a Fight Between an Unarmed Human and a Crocodile?

The most significant factors in a battle between an unarmed human and a crocodile are size, defenses, and offensive powers. Those three elements will decide which creature survives. However, knowing the speed and predatory behaviors of these two combatants is also important. Using these five total data points, we can make an accurate determination about the winner of this battle!

Unarmed Human vs Crocodile: Size

Yacare Caiman

Crocodiles are larger than humans.

©Ondrej Prosicky/

Most crocodiles are far larger than human beings. The average human weighs between 130 and 199 pounds while standing between 5 feet 3 inches and 5 feet 9 inches. However, humans can get far larger than this in terms of weight and height.

Meanwhile, crocodiles vary between 40 and 2,000 pounds while growing from 5 feet long to 23 feet long. Aside from the very smallest species, crocodiles regularly grow over 10 feet long and weigh more than 700 pounds. They only stand a few feet tall from the ground, though.

Still, crocodiles have the size advantage in this battle.  

Unarmed Human vs Crocodile: Speed


On land, humans have a speed advantage.


Humans can be faster on land than crocodiles, but crocodiles are much faster in water. The average human being can run at speeds of 6.5 and 8 mph, but they can reach 27.5 mph during a full sprint.

Meanwhile, crocodiles can move at speeds of about 3 to 5 mph on land, but they can’t maintain that speed for very long. Yet, crocodiles can swim at 15 to 18 mph over short distances. Humans can’t match those speeds.

Humans have a speed advantage on land, but crocodiles have a speed advantage in the water.  

Unarmed Human vs Crocodile: Defenses

Crocodiles have a fair number of physical defenses. These include their size, the ability to blend in their environment, and thick, protective skin. They’re impossible to spot in the water and can be very hard to spot in certain conditions on land. Their large size scares off many animals if they do see them first.

Humans are a little helpless in terms of defenses. Unarmed humans are especially vulnerable due to their thin skin and fragile bodies. However, humans do have the stamina to run for long distances, can climb trees in some cases, and have good senses to spot danger.

Nevertheless, crocodiles have an advantage in terms of physical defenses.

Unarmed Human vs Crocodile: Offensive Capabilities


Crocodiles have an incredible bite force.

©Audrey Snider-Bell/

Humans are not particularly strong compared to other primates. The average person can only lift their body weight with their arms and squat 1.5 times their weight. Moreover, our bites are weak, and we have no natural weapons save for our fists, feet, and ability to grapple.

Crocodiles are massive reptiles with powerful, deadly bites. In fact, they can bite with a force of 3,700 PSI, more than enough to break through bones. They don’t just bite and tear away flesh like a lion, though. Their teeth are meant for holding their prey while they perform a death roll, a spinning attack that shears off their prey’s flesh in large chunks.

Crocodiles can perform a death roll on land and in the water, but it’s far deadlier in the water, where they can also disorient and drown their prey.

Crocodiles have an advantage in terms of offensive capabilities.

Unarmed Human vs Crocodile: Predatory Behavior

Crocodiles are ambush predators in nature. They wait underwater for prey to get close to the water’s edge or to move into the water entirely. Crocodiles then use a short burst of speed and a deadly bite to severely injure their prey. Oftentimes, they’ll drag prey completely into the water to drown it while also delivering deadly bites.

Humans are cursorial predators and ambush predators. Typically, humans try to take their prey with a single well-placed strike. When that fails, humans pursue their prey, weaken it, and finish it off. However, these techniques usually require some sort of weapons. Without weapons, humans can gather food or raise crops to survive.

Crocodiles have superior predatory behaviors compared to unarmed humans.  

Who Would Win in a Fight Between an Unarmed Human and a Crocodile? 

Saltwater crocodile on shore

Crocodiles would win a battle against unharmed humans.


A crocodile would win a fight against an unarmed human. Crocodiles regularly kill hundreds of human beings each year in their natural ranges, and that’s probably what would happen in this case. An average crocodile that weighs 700 pounds and measures over 10 feet long is going to be too powerful for a human to overcome.

If the fight starts as an ambush from the water, the human is going to die immediately. Crocodiles frequently kill humans in this manner by attacking them, biting vital areas, and drowning them. If the fight were to happen on land, the human still has a nearly impossible fight.

Without weapons, a human probably can’t do enough damage to a crocodile to kill it. Their scaly skin is too tough to bite, and punches and kicks are going to be met with vicious counterattacks. As grisly as it may be, the best bet for a human would be to try to get on top of the crocodile out of the water, attack its head, gouge its eyes, and try to do enough damage to knock it out.

The chances of the fight going this way are practically none. In fact, the most likely outcome is that the crocodile manages to roll or wriggle free and starts chomping.

Although it should go without saying, do not try to fight a crocodile unarmed. They are vicious animals that will easily beat a human in a fight.

Other Animals That Cold Take Down a Crocodile: Crocodile vs. Anaconda

The saltwater has very few enemies that could take it down. An anaconda couldn’t stand a chance against a saltwater crocodile. Young alligators and caimans are common prey for anacondas, but saltwater crocodiles are very different animals. They are enormous and ready to attack anything that moves in the water close to them.

It’s unlikely that an anaconda will ambush a saltwater crocodile. There are not many ways for the anaconda to win without that ambush. Therefore it cannot win unless it successfully coils a crocodile multiple times without the croc seriously hurting the snake. Against a foe that large and powerful, all of it is difficult to control.

Furthermore, the snake can move and coil more easily, but the saltwater crocodile can bite and roll to its death, piercing the snake’s critical organs and hindering its ability to move.

The photo featured at the top of this post is © nattanan726/

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About the Author

Kyle Glatz is a writer at A-Z-Animals where his primary focus is on geography and mammals. Kyle has been writing for researching and writing about animals and numerous other topics for 10 years, and he holds a Bachelor's Degree in English and Education from Rowan University. A resident of New Jersey, Kyle enjoys reading, writing, and playing video games.

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