Watch What Happens When a Zebra Decides to Fight a Crocodile Rather Than Running

Crocodiles eating Zebra in Mara River
© Robert Styppa/

Written by Kirstin Harrington

Updated: November 17, 2023

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A video on TikTok with over 100,000 likes shows people what can happen in the animal kingdom when you go against your natural instincts. The footage we have for you below may be disturbing to some animal lovers. Viewer discretion is advised. 

From the moment this clip starts, we know it’s not going to end well. It begins with a zebra confronting a crocodile. It nearly looks as if the zebra instigates the croc by touching it on its snout. 

The crocodile didn’t like this much. The apex predator quickly maneuvered around and wrapped its powerful jaw around the zebra’s neck. In the blink of an eye, the water turns from a murky brown to blood red.

The zebra attempts to break free from the crocodile but is shortly pulled underwater. We can then see something take place called a death roll. This is something crocodiles do to make it easier to take down their prey. 

Once a croc has hold of its target, it will put the animal underwater and rotate its body in circles to confuse the prey. At this point, the zebra will be so disoriented and injured from the bite to the neck that it has no chance of survival. 

Do Crocodiles Eat Zebras?

Crocodile attacking Zebra - Maasai Mara

Crocodiles usually eat fish and mammals that come close to the water for a drink.

©Sagar Smooth Photography/

Surprisingly, zebras aren’t on the top of the menu for a hungry crocodile. When they do eat these animals, it’s out of starvation or because they’re easy prey. This particular zebra was disturbing the crocodile. 

These ancient beasts will perform the death roll whether or not they plan on eating the victim. Their goal is to kill the animal… eating it is just a bonus. There are shocking records and photos of a crocodile swallowing a zebra whole, leaving the photographer absolutely speechless. 

Is It Normal For Zebras To Fight Crocodiles?

Drinking zebra with, sunset backlight; Zebra drinking, with sunset reflection; Zebra orderly drinking line; Etosha N.P, Namibia

Zebras are different than horses and are known to be more aggressive. They will defend themselves as much as possible in extreme cases.


Zebras are different from horses in their behavior. They can be more aggressive and dangerous. They’re known to kick each other to the point of serious harm and can bite humans who get too close. There are even cases of zebras successfully defending themselves against lions.

While zebras are able to defend themselves in some cases, it’s rare when a zebra is able to escape a crocodile if caught.

If a zebra is captured by the strong jaws of a crocodile, the chances of survival drop significantly. The crocodile pulls the zebra underwater, spinning it around to make it disoriented.

By this time, the zebra, injured from the neck bite, has little chance of making it out alive.

What Are Zebras Primary Predators?

Cheetah Male walking along the riverbed in the Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park

Very few animals can successfully outrun a



©Wayne Marinovich/

Lions are among the toughest creatures in the wild, and they can quickly conquer zebras thanks to their predatory prowess. Due to their propensity to prey on both the older and juvenile zebras in a herd, these creatures are hazardous predators. 

Zebras attempt to utilize various techniques to defend themselves and their young. However, they occasionally become prey to lions. Cheetahs are fearsome zebra predators because they can sprint at a speed of about 70 miles per hour, which is quicker than other animals. 

Zebras try to flee when they see a cheetah pursuing them, but the swift cat generally can catch them. These striped creatures are among the many wild species that crocodiles prey on. 

These swift, powerful aquatic creatures can easily outnumber zebras and other animals due to their strength. Although antelope and zebras are among the animals that African wild dogs pursue when hunting, zebras are their preferred prey. 

They hunt in packs, which gives them an advantage over their prey. When they grab and encircle a zebra, they keep biting it until it weakens and dies. 

How Big Are Nile Crocodiles?

A Nile Crocodile, the bigger predator of the Nile River.


Nile crocodile

can weigh as much as 1,700 pounds.


Crocodiles are some of the largest reptiles on the African continent, with size varying depending on species. At birth, crocodiles are typically between 8 and 12 inches in length. The average litter size for crocodiles is between 20 and 40 hatchlings. As they grow, crocodiles can reach between 10 and 16 feet in length as adults.

Nile crocodiles in Africa weigh between 500 and 1,700 pounds when they are fully grown. A female Nile crocodile is smaller and typically weighs 100-550 pounds.

To reach such size, crocodiles have roamed the earth for over 200 million years and have a diet of mainly fish, small amphibians, and even larger animals such as antelope. They are also known to consume eggs and carrion and have been known to eat humans in some cases.

Crocodiles are apex predators, meaning they have few predators and are at the top of the food chain, allowing them to reach such large sizes. They are also long-lived animals, with some species living up to 70 years.

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About the Author

Kirstin is a writer at A-Z Animals primarily covering animals, news topics, fun places, and helpful tips. Kirstin has been writing on a variety of topics for over five years. She has her real estate license, along with an associates degree in another field. A resident of Minnesota, Kirstin treats her two cats (Spook and Finlay) like the children they are. She never misses an opportunity to explore a thrift store with a coffee in hand, especially if it’s a cold autumn day!

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