Epic Battles: Burmese Python vs. Nile Crocodile

Written by Kyle Glatz
Published: December 11, 2022
© A-Z-Animals.com
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The Burmese python has made the news in the U.S. many times over the past few decades. They’re an invasive species with a population that continues to grow out of control, threatening local wildlife and disrupting the ecosystem of Florida. Many people have even heard stories of the Burmese python killing alligators in the Everglades. Does that mean that a Burmese python vs Nile crocodile fight would have the same result?

We’ll take some time to explore this fight and its potential outcomes, ultimately showing you whether or not the snake or crocodile has a better chance of claiming victory.

Comparing a Burmese Python and a Nile Crocodile

The key factors in a fight between a Burmese python and a Nile crocodile are their size and method of attack.


Burmese PythonNile Crocodile
SizeWeight: 100 to 165 pounds, up to 200 pounds
Length: 10 to 20 feet
Weight: 500 to 1,650 pounds on average, highest weight up to 2,400 pounds
Length: 9 to 15 feet on average, up to 21 feet
Speed– About 1 mph– 22 mph in the water
–  Can briefly run at speeds of between 12-15 mph, such as when they’re chasing prey near the water’s edge
Defenses– Large size ensures some animals stay away from them
– Camouflage hides them in trees or on the ground
– They can swim very well, allowing them to escape some adverse situations
– May stay submerged for as much as half an hour
– Massive size makes adult Nile crocodiles hard to kill
– They can hide most of their body below the water’s surface
– Their body color serves as camouflage in the water    
Offensive Capabilities– Uses rear-facing teeth to bite its prey and latch on while they wrap around its body
– Once they have fully coiled around the creature, the python will exert a powerful crushing force
– Their prey dies from suffocation or potentially overwhelming their circulatory system
– Powerful hunting senses help identify prey that enters the water
3,000 PSI bite power
– Largest teeth measure between 3 and 4 inches on average
– Has between 64 and 68 conical teeth to grab prey and tear it open
– Causes deep, severe puncture wounds
– Uses a death roll to rip prey apart, often while drowning them
Predatory Behavior– Ambushes prey from a hiding spot– Ambush predators that attack from the water’s edge  

What Are the Key Differences Between a Burmese Python and a Nile Crocodile?

The most significant differences between a Burmese python and a Nile crocodile can be found in their morphology and their size. The Burmese python is a large snake that can measure between 10 and 20 feet long on average while weighing from 100 to 165 pounds. Meanwhile, the Nile crocodile is a large lizard-like reptile that measures between 9 and 15 feet long, stands less than 3 feet tall, and weighs between 500 and 1,650 pounds on average.

These differences are significant, and they will have an impact on the fight. Nevertheless, these unique qualities are not the only things that matter in this battle.

What Are the Key Factors in a Fight Between a Burmese Python and a Nile Crocodile?

The key factors in a fight between a Burmese python and a Nile crocodile are their size and method of attack. We could determine the outcome of the fight with those two things alone, almost regardless of how the fight begins.

However, we want to provide a well-rounded explanation for this fight, taking into account five factors that determine most fights in the wild aside from the location, something we can’t factor in all the time. See what advantages each animal has in this fight.

Burmese Python vs. Nile Crocodile: Size

The Nile crocodile weighs more than the Burmese python.


Nile crocodiles are larger than Burmese pythons. The average Nile crocodile measures somewhere between 9 and 15 feet long while weighing between 500 and 1,650 pounds, up to 2,000 pounds or more.

Meanwhile, the average Burmese python only weighs between 100 and 165 pounds while growing between 10 and 20 feet.

The crocodile clearly has a significant advantage in this fight.

Burmese Python vs. Nile Crocodile: Speed

The Nile crocodile is faster than the Burmese python. The average Nile crocodile can burst out of the water at a speed of between 12 and 15 mph, a pace they can only keep up for a very short time. Meanwhile, the Burmese python is slower, slithering at about 1 mph on the land, perhaps slightly more when it is in trouble.

The Nile crocodile has the speed advantage.

Burmese Python vs. Nile Crocodile: Defenses

The Nile crocodile has better defenses than the Burmese python, even though the two share some similarities. For example, both animals use camouflage to hide and set up an attack. The snake prefers to hide in vegetation in trees or on the ground. The snakes begin to spend the majority of their time on the ground as they reach adulthood. Meanwhile, the Nile crocodile can hide below the surface of the water, waiting for something to take a drink.

The Burmese python’s size helps keep it safe from predators, especially as an adult. The same goes for the Nile crocodile. The main difference is that the Nile crocodile has thick, scaly skin that is reinforced with scutes on the top, giving the crocodile a great deal of protection from bites, stabs, and other attacks.

All in all, the Nile crocodile boasts better defenses.  

Burmese Python vs. Nile Crocodile: Offensive Capabilities

Burmese python
Burmese pythons wrap their bodies around prey.

©dwi putra stock/Shutterstock.com

The Burmese python has an interesting method of attack. These snakes will bite and anchor themselves on prey and then coil around them. Once they have wrapped their body around their prey, they’ll start to squeeze. However, scientists aren’t all of one mind when it comes to how these snakes kill.

Some think they suffocate their prey by tightening every time the prey takes a breath. Others think that the squeezing action ultimately overwhelms the circulatory system of the prey. Either way, it’s deadly.

The Nile crocodile is simpler. These creatures use a bite force of about 3,000 PSI to drive long teeth into their prey, causing extreme physical damage. They’ll also bite down on a limb and start rolling to tear it off. Crocodiles prefer to bite their prey and drag it back into the water, where they have even more of an advantage.

Such an attack disorients their foe and allows them to execute the death roll with great finesse. Needless to say, both animals are very effective.

Burmese Python vs. Nile Crocodile: Predatory Behavior

Both the Burmese python and Nile crocodile are ambush predators. They thrive when they can attack from cover, overwhelm their enemy, and end the fight quickly. However, as we’ve seen from each animal’s offensive prowess, the only thing their attacks have in common is that they often start with an ambush.

Who Would Win in a Fight Between a Burmese Python and a Nile Crocodile?

The Nile crocodile wins this fight from any perspective.

©David Havel/Shutterstock.com

A Nile crocodile would win a fight against a Burmese python. You may have seen the Burmese python kill an American alligator, but the Nile crocodile is a different beast completely. The crocodile is large, heavy, powerful, and deadly.

Even if the Burmese python got the first strike and landed a bite, the chances that it would be able to successfully wrap up something that outweighs it by 10 times is small. The more likely event is that the Nile crocodile wriggles and rolls free and starts chomping on the snake.

The most likely event, of course, is that the snake sees how large its potential prey is and calls off the attack completely.

If the Nile crocodile gets the first attack off, it would end the fight immediately. For example, if the Burmese python decided to enter a body of water to drink or travel and the croc was waiting for it, the Nile crocodile would bite into its head, killing it instantly and earning itself a large meal.

Either way, it seems far more likely that the Nile crocodile wins this fight from any perspective.

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Burmese Python vs Nile Crocodile
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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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