Watch an Elephant Toss a Crocodile With Its Tail After Crossing a River

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Written by Hannah Crawford

Updated: November 10, 2023

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African elephant at watering hole

We see a great tug-of-war happening between two of nature’s most incredible creatures. The ferocious crocodile is Africa’s fiercest predator and the wild’s largest land animal, the elephant. When we imagine these two animals fighting against one another, it is not difficult to assume who would come out as the apex winner.

However, although the crocodile has a lot going for him, we do have to realize the enormous strength and weight of the elephant and have respect for that. Let’s pause and take a look at how big the African elephant truly is.

How Big is the African Elephant?

Big tusker elephant that wonders across african savanna plains of the Kruger NP


can run up to 25 miles per hour.

©Johann Mader/

The African elephant is localized to Africa. However, these are not the largest animals in the world. The blue whale holds the title for the entire globe. However, one large mammal, the African elephant, holds the title of the largest land animal easily. 

Elephants easily weigh between 8,000-12,000 pounds and reach enormous heights of 10-12 feet. This is enough to make any animal think twice about trying to mess with elephants. However, for one hungry crocodile, he was willing to go against all odds. 

As the elephant tries to cross this short body of water, the Luangwa River, we see him struggling. He is struggling because lurking underneath those waters is an enormous crocodile who is trying his best to take this elephant down. If we freeze the video shown below at 45 seconds, we see the crocodile holding on to this elephant. This great tug of war is fierce and going strong. Only the elephant is winning this match. 

The safari guide Emmanuel Sauti shares his ending remarks on this incredible event below. 

“In the end, the elephant managed to shake off the crocodile and cross the river. Phew, what a relief! I must say, that was one of the most exhilarating moments of my career as a safari guide. And the fact that it was my first time seeing an elephant fight with a crocodile just made it all the more special.”

What Do Crocodiles Eat?

Crocodiles eating Zebra in Mara River

The crocodile can swim up to 25 miles per hour.

©Robert Styppa/

Crocodiles are large reptiles that can be found in Africa, Asia, Central America, North America, and South America. As carnivores, they will enjoy feasting on fish, deer, and buffalo. While elephants are not on this list, it doesn’t mean a crocodile wouldn’t eat an elephant. This food was too good for this crocodile to try and pass up. Regardless of the fact, he was unsuccessful in taking him down. 

Is This Normal Behavior?

Normally, most animals will not attempt to take on an elephant all by themselves, especially a large elephant! They are just too large of an endeavor to tackle. Crocodiles will typically aim for prey that they can manage to drag into the water and then roll them underwater to drown them and have a great advantage.

In this instance, the croc may have seen the solo elephant too tempting and decided to grab maybe the only spot on the beast where it could get a good grip: its tail. For the reptile to make this attempt, it most likely was hungry and somewhat desperate. You can see at the end of the video that the elephant may have gotten a stomp on the crocodile which would probably dissuade it from making the same mistake again!

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About the Author

Hannah Crawford is a writer at A-Z Animals where she focuses on reptiles, mammals, and locations in Africa. Hannah has been researching and writing about animals and various countries for over eight years. She holds a Bachelors Degree in Communication\Performance Studies from Pensacola Christian College, which she earned in 2015. Hannah is a resident in Florida, and enjoys theatre, poetry, and growing her fish tank.

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