Epic Battles: The Largest Nile Crocodile Ever vs. a Saltwater Crocodile

Nile Crocodile Ever vs. Saltwater Crocodile
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Written by Kyle Glatz

Updated: April 16, 2023

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Key Points:
  • Both Nile crocodiles and saltwater crocodiles are ambush predators. Nile crocs usually ambush prey in or near water, while saltwater crocs prefer to wait near a shoreline and attack animals that pass by.
  • The saltwater crocodile has a stronger bite force than a Nile crocodile, issuing a bite with 3,700 PSI compared to the Nile crocodile’s 3,000 PSI bite.
  • The largest Nile crocodile weighed between 2,300 and 2,400 pounds, and it grew 21 feet 2 inches long. Saltwater crocodiles weigh between 400 and 1,150 pounds on average but can weigh over 2,200 pounds.

Saltwater crocodiles are the largest crocodile species in the world. They also have a very fearsome reputation stemming from their aggression. The Nile crocodile is smaller on average, but it kills hundreds if not thousands of people every year. That makes us wonder, what would happen if we evened up the fight? Let’s see what happens in a fight between the largest Nile crocodile ever vs. a saltwater crocodile.

We’ll examine this hypothetical fight and determine which one of these massive reptiles is more likely to win. Keep in mind that we’re putting the largest Nile crocodile against an average saltwater crocodile, not the largest of both species.

Comparing the Largest Nile Crocodile Ever vs. a Saltwater Crocodile

Largest Nile Crocodile EverSaltwater Crocodile
SizeWeight: 2,300 and 2,400 pounds
Length: 21 feet and 2 inches long
Weight: between 400 and 1,150 pounds on average, but they can weigh over 2,200 pounds
Length: from 8.9 to 23 feet long
Speed– Can run on land at 12 to 15 mph for very, very short distances when attacking
– Maximum swim speed is about 22 mph for short bursts
– Can swim at 15 to 18 mph over short distances in the water
– Can run between 12 and 22 mph
Defenses– Their scaly skin and scutes make it hard to damage these creatures
– Easily hide in water and vegetation
– Large size means they can take a fair amount of damage before succumbing
– Their size frightens off other creatures
– Possess thick, scaly, reinforced skin
– Can hide in water and blend in near the shoreline
– May attack on land and in the water
Offensive Capabilities– Deliver bites with a force of 3,000 PSI
– Teeth measure about 3 to 4 inches long
– Employ the death roll to tear prey apart, often while drowning them- Has an incredibly powerful 3,700 PSI bite
– Their 66 teeth measure 5 inches long
– Have conical teeth meant to bite and hold prey
– Can utilize a death roll to tear chunks from prey
Predatory Behavior– Prefer to ambush their prey
– Will attack from in or near the water
– Ambush predators
– Prefer to wait near a shoreline and attack animals that come by

What Are 2 Key Differences Between the Largest Nile Crocodile Ever and a Saltwater Crocodile?

The biggest differences between the largest Nile crocodile and a saltwater crocodile can be found in their attack powers and size. The largest Nile crocodile weighed between 2,300 and 2,400 pounds and grew 21 feet 2 inches long. Meanwhile, the average saltwater crocodile can reach lengths of 9 to 21 feet and weigh between 400 and 2,200 pounds!

The saltwater crocodile has a stronger bite force than a Nile crocodile, issuing a bite with 3,700 PSI compared to the Nile crocodile’s 3,000 PSI bite.

These differences will be important in figuring out which of the two animals has the best chance of overcoming the other.

Saltwater crocodile has a stronger bite force than a Nile crocodile.

The saltwater

crocodile has a stronger bite force

than a Nile crocodile, issuing a bite with 3,700 PSI compared to the Nile crocodile’s 3,000 PSI bite.

©Susan Flashman/Shutterstock.com

What are the Key Factors in a Fight Between the Largest Nile Crocodile Ever and a Saltwater Crocodile?

The key factors in this battle are size and bite force. Deciding which of two animals has the best chance of coming out on top in a fight requires examining a variety of factors. In this particular situation, we need to look at physical traits like defenses and size along with the elements that inform their offensive capabilities.

We’re going to look at five different factors of these two animals to determine their advantages in the battle. Then, we’ll combine all of that information and use it to name a winner of this battle!

Largest Nile Crocodile Ever vs. Saltwater Crocodile: Size

The largest Nile crocodile weighs more than the average saltwater crocodile, but it’s also shorter than the longest recorded saltwater crocodile. Saltwater crocodiles weigh between 400 and 1,150 pounds on average, but larger ones exist, weighing about 2,200 pounds and growing up to 23 feet long.

Meanwhile, the largest Nile crocodile weighed between 2,300 and 2,400 pounds, and it grew 21 feet 2 inches long.

All in all, the largest Nile crocodile has the size advantage in this fight.

Largest Nile Crocodile Ever vs. Saltwater Crocodile: Speed

The average saltwater crocodile can swim at speeds of 15 to 18 mph at their greatest speed. They can’t keep up that speed forever. On land, they can burst forth at about 12 to 22 mph for very short distances.

Meanwhile, the Nile crocodile can move at speeds of 12 to 15 mph on land for short distances while swimming at speeds of about 22 mph in short bursts.

This fight will take place in or near the water, so the Nile crocodile will have the advantage in this fight for swim speed.

The largest Nile crocodile has size and swim speed advantage vs. saltwater crocodile

The largest Nile crocodile has a size and swim speed advantage in this fight over the smaller and slower saltwater crocodile.

©Vicky Baldwin / Creative Commons – Original

Largest Nile Crocodile Ever vs. Saltwater Crocodile: Defenses

Both the Nile crocodile and saltwater crocodile have very similar defenses. Their bodies are covered in tough, scaly skin. They’re both enormous creatures that will require a fair amount of damage to be dealt to them in order to lose the fight or perish.

Both creatures prefer to hide beneath the water or in nearby vegetation. Sometimes, they can even blend in with the mud at the water’s edge.

The Nile crocodile and the saltwater crocodile are tied in terms of their defensive capacities.

Largest Nile Crocodile Ever vs Saltwater Crocodile: Offensive Capabilities

Both crocodiles are also similar in the way that they fight their prey. They rely on their impressive bite powers and unique teeth to kill their foes. They attack from the water, grab their prey with their cone-shaped teeth, and drag them into the water. That’s when they use a death roll to dismember, disorient, and drown them.

Yet, these two reptiles do have some differences between them. The saltwater crocodile has a stronger bite than the Nile crocodile. They can exert 3,700 PSI or more while biting, but the Nile crocodile can only deliver 3,000 PSI while biting.

Another difference between the two species is the saltwater crocodile has longer teeth. Their longest teeth measure about 5 inches long while the Nile crocodile’s teeth are about 3 to 4 inches.

The saltwater crocodile has an offensive advantage.

crocodile

The saltwater crocodile has the offensive advantage over the Nile crocodile with a stronger bite force and longer teeth.

©Willyam Bradberry/Shutterstock.com

Largest Nile Crocodile Ever vs. Saltwater Crocodile: Predatory Behavior

Both the Nile crocodile and the saltwater crocodile have very similar predatory practices. They both wait near the edge of a body of water. When something disturbs the water, they lash out and attack it. These creatures can sit under the water with just their eyes above the waterline, or they can rely on their keen hunting senses to find prey.

Either way, the fight is over in a flash. All they need is a few bites or to drag the prey into the water and it’s all over. As one might imagine, these sudden attacks make crocodiles effective predators. Many crocodiles, especially Nile crocodiles, are bold enough to hunt human beings.  

The largest Nile crocodile and the saltwater crocodile are tied in terms of their predatory behaviors.

Nile crocodile staying just under the water surface

Both the Nile and saltwater crocodiles can sit just under the water keeping their eyes above the waterline to find prey.

©Mari Swanepoel/Shutterstock.com

Who Would Win in the Fight Between the Largest Nile Crocodile Ever and a Saltwater Crocodile?

A saltwater crocodile would win a fight against the largest Nile crocodile. These two reptiles have a great deal in common, so we are forced to look at their differences to find out the winner of this battle. The largest Nile crocodile probably has a few hundred pounds on the saltwater crocodile, but weight isn’t going to win this battle.

Instead, we have to figure out which creature can do enough fatal damage to the other and figure out which one would be more willing to fight. The saltwater crocodile has a stronger bite and longer teeth. That means it has the potential to do more damage to the oversized Nile crocodile.

Another thing to keep in mind is that the saltwater crocodile is known for being more aggressive toward other members of its species. While the largest Nile crocodile is anything but cowardly, it probably won’t be the one to initiate the fight between the two animals.  

Given that the two creatures are basically the same size, the first attack matters a fair amount in this case. A preemptive attack could amputate a limb or otherwise incapacitate the Nile crocodile before it thinks to fight against the saltwater crocodile.

Realistically, this fight would probably come down to which animal could take more punishment. Given their similar sizes, defenses, and compositions, it’s hard to say which animal would definitely win. Still, the saltwater crocodile has some advantages that can’t be ignored, so it gets the win.

A saltwater crocodile would win a fight against the largest Nile crocodile

A saltwater crocodile would win a fight against the largest Nile crocodile because it is more aggressive and could inflict greater damage.

©Pius Rino Pungkiawan/Shutterstock.com


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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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