Top 8 Largest Crocodiles Ever

Written by AZ Animals Staff
Published: May 4, 2021
Written by AZ Animals Staff
Published: May 4, 2021

Have you ever wondered what the largest crocodile ever was? Based on fossil evidence, the longest crocodile ever to live was a Sarcosuchus imperator, who measured 40 feet long and weighed 17,600 pounds. The largest one ever officially measured was Lolong, who was a saltwater crocodile who measured 20 feet 3 inches long and weighed 2,370 pounds. Unfortunately, he died of congestive heart failure in February 2013. The largest crocodile alive is Cassius who is about 100 years old. The saltwater crocodile Cassius measures 17 feet 3 inches long. While these modern crocodiles are huge, there are prehistoric ones that were much larger in size.

Scientists have to guess when it comes to how big prehistoric dinosaurs were as there are not accurate measurements from that time. They can come close by measuring the length of the skull measured in the midline from the tip of the snout to the back of the skull table as there is a strong correlation in modern crocodiles when this measurement is used.

#8 Largest Crocodiles Ever: Purussaurus mirandai – 32 feet 9 Inches

Largest Crocodiles Ever: Purussaurus mirandai
Purussaurus mirandai is the only crocodylian that has been found to have the extra vertebra in its sacrum.

The Purussaurus mirandai weight was about 5,700 pounds. This animal that measured about 32 feet 9 inches long, had a very unusual spine. It has an extra vertebra in its pelvic area and one less in its trunk area. Scientists believe that is how this crocodile could carry all its weight. This crocodile lived in Venezuela about 7.5 million years ago.

#7 Largest Crocodiles Ever: Euthecodon brumpti – 33 Feet

The Euthecodon brumpti was a short-snout crocodile that lived in modern-day Africa during the Early Miocene to the Early Pleistocene periods. One of the largest fossils by weight from this animal was found in Kenya. Fossils from this crocodile are some of the most common found in the Turkana Basin. This crocodile may have lived from 1 to 8 million years ago in Lake Turkana where it ate fish. Scientists think this crocodile grew to be about 33 feet long.

#6 Largest Crocodiles Ever: Gryposuchus croizati – 33 Feet

Largest Crocodiles Ever: Gryposuchus croizati
The Gryposuchus croizati is one of the largest crocodiles who ever live in Venezuela.

The Gryposuchus croizati is estimated to have been 33 feet long, but some suggest this reptile could have been much longer. Some of the largest fossils from this animal have been found in the Urumaco Formation in Venezuela. Those fossils indicate that this crocodile weighed about 3,850 pounds. They also believe that this animal lived during the Middle to Late Miocene period. It may have gone extinct because nature went on to create a ravine system where they lived, which was a wetland area.

#5 Largest Crocodiles Ever: Deinosuchus – 35 Feet

Largest Crocodiles Ever Deinosuchus
Deinosuchus are part of the crocodylians — the group that includes modern alligators, crocodiles and gharials.

The Deinosuchus probably grew to be about 35 feet long, and it may have been an early ancestor to the American alligator. Evidence shows that this crocodile was abundant in the Eastern United States. The largest fossils by length have been found, however, in the Western United States. This suggests that they lived along the entire length of the Western Inland Seaway from 82 to 73 million years ago.

This animal may have weighed up to 11,000 pounds. It was capable of crushing other dinosaurs but probably lived on a marine diet of fish. A special plate with holes in it allowed this croc to breathe while completely underwater.

#4 Largest Crocodiles Ever: Rhamphosuchus – 36 Feet

Largest Crocodiles Ever: Rhamphosuchus
Reconstruction of the giant Pliocene gharial, Rhamphosuchus crassidens, with a Ganges river dolphin for size comparison.

The Rhamphosuchus likely lived during the Miocene period in present-day Pakistan. This reptile likely grew to be about 36 feet in length, based on fossils collected by two archeologists in 1840. This croc had a unique beak-like snout, so it is sometimes called the beak crocodile. Scientists believe that it ate mostly fish but was capable of hunting. It may have regularly dined on other animals that came to the water holes where it lived. Scientists believe that this Indian crocodile who lived about 1 million years ago weighed about 6,000 pounds.

#3 Largest Crocodiles Ever: Mourasuchus – 39 Feet 4 Inches

There may be as many as 10 subspecies of Mourasuchus. These crocodiles that scientists believe grew up to 39-feet-4-inches long, had a unique duck-like face. They lived in Venezuela and Brazil about 6 million years ago. Evidence suggests that they used their wide mouths to scoop up water and swallowed their prey whole.

While most species had very strong teeth, fossils show this one had very weak teeth that were very small. Eating a different diet than other crocodiles of the same period and location may have helped this croc grow so big as it could weigh up to 16,000 pounds.

#2 Largest Crocodiles Ever: Purussaurus brasilensis – 41 Feet

Largest Crocodiles Ever Purussaurus brasilensis
Pencil drawing of Purussaurus brasiliensis, a 12 m long alligatoridae from the Miocene of Brazil.

The Purussaurus brasilensis was one of the largest species to ever live. It weighed about 18,500 pounds. This crocodile that lived in the Late Miocene in South America was a carnivore. Due to its large size and giant teeth, it may have had very few animals that could harm it. Scientists believe that this animal was able to exert 15,500 pounds of force with every bite. This species lived around where the Amazon River now flows, and changes in the ecosystem may have led to its demise.

#1 Largest Crocodiles Ever: Sarcosuchus imperator – 41 Feet

Largest Crocodiles Ever: Sarcosuchus imperator
Sarcosuchus imperator (flesh-eating crocodile), nicknamed supercroc. With an estimated body length of 40 feet, and a skull over 5 1/2 feet long, this is one of the largest crocodiles ever.

Arguably, the biggest crocodile to ever live was the Sarcosuchus imperator, but scientists still debate if it is the biggest crocodile. The skull on this animal measures about 5 feet 6 inches long while its entire body measures about 41 feet long. It had about 100 teeth, with ones sitting slightly inside the lower ones, like an overbite. This probably allowed this crocodile to hunt animals, although it is likely that its main diet consisted of fish. Most fossils from this crocodile which may be the biggest one to ever live come from the Tenere Desert region of the Sahara Desert in Niger. It is likely this crocodile weighed about 17,600 pounds.

This reptile got a new armor plate for each year that it was alive. These plates helped protect it from predators. From studying the plates, scientists have concluded that it took about 55 years to reach its full size. This crocodile’s snout ended in a unique bowl shape, which scientists believe it used to smell as its stiff neck made it hard to turn its neck.

Largest Crocodiles List

  1. Sarcosuchus imperator – 41 Feet
  2. Purussaurus brasilensis – 41 Feet
  3. Mourasuchus – 39 Feet 4 Inches
  4. Rhamphosuchus – 36 Feet
  5. Deinosuchus – 35 Feet
  6. Gryposuchus croizati – 33 Feet
  7. Euthecodon brumpti – 33 Feet
  8. Purussaurus mirandai – 32 feet 9 Inches

Next Up: Top 10 Smallest Snakes in the World