Jaguar vs Crocodile: Who Would Win in a Fight?

Written by Kyle Glatz
Published: February 1, 2022
Image Credit Adalbert Dragon/Shutterstock.com
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Jaguars are large, jungle-prowling cats that are known for stalking other animals and humans alike. The same jungles that hide jaguars are home to crocodiles, semi-aquatic reptiles that have the most powerful bite of any creature on land. Neither animal likes to have its area encroached upon, so what happens in a jaguar vs crocodile showdown? Don’t worry, we’ll show you the tale of the tape as well as which one comes away the winner!

Comparing a Jaguar and a Crocodile

Jaguar vs Crocodile

A-Z-Animals.com

JaguarCrocodile
SizeWeight: 120 – 300lbs
Length: 3.5ft- 5.5ft
Height: 2ft-2.5ft at the shoulder
Weight: 300-2,000lbs
Length: 10ft – 20ft
Speed and Movement Type50 mph  – 22 mph on land
– Very fast crawling motion
– 15mph in water propelled by its tail
Bite Power and Teeth1,500 PSI bite power
30 teeth
– 2-inch fangs
3,700PSI bite power
– 4-inch teeth
– 66 teeth
Senses– Strong sense of smell
– Powerful vision at nighttime, several times better than humans’ vision.
– Great sense of hearing
– Great nocturnal vision and underwater vision
– Pressure receptors help crocodiles identify changes around them
Defenses– Superior speed to everything in its range
– Can comfortably rest in trees to make up for lack of pack mentality
– Able to climb trees to avoid predators
– Capable swimmer  
– Tough scales
– Ability to travel on land and water
– Speed
Offensive Capabilities– Strong, sharp, short claws
– Powerful bite and long teeth  
– Incredibly powerful bite
– Death roll can instantly remove large chunks of flesh.
Predatory Behavior– Ambush predator that can set up attacks from trees– Ambush predators that wait in the water for prey to approach.

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

jaguar-eating-its-prey
A jaguar vs crocodile fight depends on raw power, speed, and cunning.

iStock.com/Steven Anderton

The crocodile is an evolutionary marvel, but does that mean it automatically wins against the cunning jaguar? We’ve decided to come up with the key factors of this fight and use them to determine which of the animals has the edge in a battle. Using their physical features and combat prowess, we have determined the winner of this fight, and it might not be all that surprising.

Physical Features of a Jaguar and a Crocodile

Crocodiles are large, aquatic reptiles that can reach 2,000lbs in weight.

iStock.com/anakeseenadee

Most of the fights in the animal kingdom are over before they begin. Size, ferocity, and biological weaponry allow some animals to completely overpower their foes and end the fight decisively. In this case, we’re going to compare the size, speed, and other physical elements of these two beasts and assign winners to each category. The animal with the most advantages is in a better position to survive!

Jaguar vs Crocodile: Size

Jaguars can grow rather large, but they tend to be lean. They can reach 300lbs in weight and 2.5ft tall at the shoulder. The largest jaguar on record weighed 328 pounds, which is larger than many fully grown female lions. While that is large enough to pose a serious threat to a human, they’re diminutive next to a crocodile. Crocodiles can weigh up to 2,000lbs and grow 20ft long; they’re much larger than jaguars.

Crocodiles have a significant size advantage.     

Jaguar vs Crocodile: Speed and Movement

Jaguars have blinding speed. They can reach top speeds of 50mph in short speeds, and they use that to hunt down prey and crash into them to begin and end their hunt.

Crocodiles are slower, but they’re not slow. They can move at about 22mph on land and 15mph in the water.

Jaguars have an advantage in speed and movement since they’re faster and more agile than crocodiles.

Jaguar vs Crocodile: Bite Power and Teeth

Both jaguars and crocodiles use their ferocious bites to kill enemies. Jaguars have 2-inch fangs to go with 1,500 PSI bite power, more than enough to kill their prey. Yet, crocodiles have double the teeth, over twice the power, and twice the length to their teeth.

Crocodiles have the advantage in terms of bite power and teeth.

Jaguar vs Crocodile: Senses

Jaguars have many keen senses that help them find and kill their prey. Their sense of smell is strong, they can hear from very far away, and their vision at nighttime is superior to most creatures, including humans.

Crocodiles have great vision above and below the water, and they can see well at night. Moreover, they have pressure receptors around their body that helps them detect when animals are closing in on them.

Jaguars have better hunting senses than crocodiles!

Jaguar vs Crocodile: Physical Defenses

Jaguars’ defenses lie in their speed and ability to move in various places. They’re decent climbers, run faster than any other animal on the continent, and they are good swimmers. If danger gets close, they’re more likely to run away and blend into the surroundings.

Crocodiles have thick, scaly skin, decent speed for an animal its size, and the ability to travel on land and water. They can also hide just below the surface of the water, out of sight and out of mind for any would-be predators.

All in all, both animals are tied in this respect because their defenses are unique and effective.

Combat Skills of a Jaguar and a Crocodile

Types of Jaguar cats - jaguar
Jaguars can use their power to overcome small crocodilians such as the caiman.

Gurkan Ozturk/Shutterstock.com

Jaguars and crocodiles are both ambush predators that lie in wait and then seek to end the fight quickly. The crocodile will bite into an enemy and crush bones or tear chunks of flesh away until the prey dies. Jaguars will bite and scratch in a furious flurry of death.

Both animals are highly effective, yet the crocodile’s attacks are much more devastating.

What Are Key Differences Between a Jaguar and a Crocodile?

A Nile Crocodile seen on a safari in South Africa
While jaguars are mammals, crocodiles are ancient reptiles.

Rudi Hulshof/Shutterstock.com

Jaguars are mammals and crocodiles are reptiles; their morphological differences are vast even though they’re both quadrupedal ambush hunters. Jaguars tend to live in dense jungle areas and crocodiles live near water. Specifically, crocodiles are often found in brackish or saltwater even though they do live near freshwater sources, too.

Crocodiles are larger, heavier, and have a far more powerful bite than jaguars. However, jaguars are much faster and have very good senses to detect enemies in their range.

Crocodiles are known for their long, V-shaped snout while jaguars resemble large domestic cats in many respects. Both are deadly hunters that have claimed the lives of humans in their territory.

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

Heaviest Animals: Saltwater Crocodile
Crocodiles will beat jaguars in a fight if they’re fully grown.

PomInOz/Shutterstock.com

A fully grown crocodile would win a fight against a jaguar every time. The reason is simple: jaguars couldn’t muster enough power to land a fatal attack on a grown crocodile without putting themselves at tremendous risk.

Jaguars prefer to hunt their prey and land a quick, fatal attack on the throat. They would have no problem attacking small crocs, and flipping them over. Perhaps you’ve even seen videos of jaguars successfully hunting smaller animals that look like crocodiles. That’s because caimans (a member of the crocodilian order which are more closely related to alligators) live across South America. Some species of caiman reach only about 5 feet in length and are a fraction the weight of fully-grown crocodiles like saltwater crocodiles or Nile crocodiles, which can weigh in well-beyond 1,000 pounds.

Jaguars won’t do so well against a creature that is triple their weight or more, though. Also, crocodiles crawl close to the ground, so their throats are hard to get to. Moreover, a jaguar could attack their back, but crocodiles can easily roll and turn the tables while suffering some cuts and bites.

The more likely scenario is a crocodile waits on the water’s edge and then attacks, dragging the jaguar into the murky depths to die. On land, the crocodile only needs to land a single attack and let its long teeth and death rolls do the work. Either way, the mammal goes down in the jungles of South America.  

Largest Jaguar - Jaguar Header

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About the Author

I'm a freelance writer with 8 years of experience. I've written in a variety of niches such as video games, animals, and managed service providers. I graduated from Rowan University in 2014 with degrees in English and Education. When I'm not working, I enjoy playing video games, reading, and writing for fun.

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