Stealthy Croc Shows off Her Lightening Fast Reflexes

Written by Sharon Parry
Published: November 27, 2023
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It’s easy to see from this clip how Nile crocodiles are such formidable predators. The female here is almost impossible to see in the murky water. At the same time, she is well aware of the human standing on the bank holding a tasty snack. She positions herself, ready to strike, as he throws it into the water. Once he throws the food, she moves within a fraction of a second and secures it in her massive jaws.

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Where Do Nile Crocodiles Normally Live?

Nile crocodiles used to be found across most of Africa. However, their range has diminished dramatically, and they are now located south of the Sahara desert, in eastern Africa, and western Madagascar. They can be spotted in 47 African countries, but their populations are sometimes fragmented because of human development. Therefore, the current population is divided into seven distinctive groups.

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Regarding habitat, these crocodiles like to live in lakes and rivers. However, they are more salt tolerant than was previously thought and are also found in brackish coastal swamps. During the hot, dry season in Somalia and Tanzania, they make burrows to keep themselves moist and cool. In western Madagascar, they inhabit caves.

What Do Nile Crocodiles Normally Eat?

Nile crocodile attacking impala at edge of river, South Africa

Nile crocodiles can hunt animals in the water and on the shore.

©JMx Images/Shutterstock.com

Nile crocodiles hunt on land and in the water. On the ground, they ambush prey from overhanging tree branches. As we see in this clip, they swim silently near the shore to grab prey from the beach. When they attack, they launch their body out of the water and can move several times their length. They have also batted their tail at birds in reeds to make them break their cover. The prey is dragged into the water and then drowns. Larger prey is dismembered before being swallowed. When hunting in the water, they simply grab the prey and dismember it if it is large.

These crocodiles can go for long periods without eating. They usually hunt alone, but there have been sightings of them working cooperatively to secure prey.

Adult Nile crocodiles will kill and eat almost anything they spot near the water. They can overpower large terrestrial animals, including giraffes, buffalo, and even young hippos. They eat smaller prey, such as frogs and crabs, between larger kills. However, fish are the mainstay of their diet. Sadly, there are also reports of Nile crocodiles both killing and eating humans.

The photo featured at the top of this post is © StuPorts/iStock / Getty Images Plus via Getty Images


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About the Author

Dr Sharon Parry is a writer at A-Z animals where her primary focus is on dogs, animal behavior, and research. Sharon holds a PhD from Leeds University, UK which she earned in 1998 and has been working as a science writer for the last 15 years. A resident of Wales, UK, Sharon loves taking care of her spaniel named Dexter and hiking around coastlines and mountains.

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