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The Largest Alligator vs. Crocodile

Nile crocodile swollowing fish.
Nile crocodile swollowing fish. Image by JohanSwanepoel via Depositphotos

Welcome to the world of the largest alligator vs. the largest crocodile! In the realm of ancient reptiles, size, strength, and predatory prowess reigned supreme.

Comparing the Giants

A modern crocodile swimming. Image via Pixabay

Among the titans of prehistoric waters, two stand out: Deinosuchus hatcheri, the largest ever alligator, and Sarcosuchus imperator, the colossal crocodile. While modern iterations of these creatures may seem impressive, pitting the largest of their kind against each other reveals a truly epic showdown. Let’s delve into the depths of history to witness the clash between these ancient behemoths.

CriteriaLargest Ever AlligatorLargest Crocodile
Scientific NameDeinosuchus hatcheriSarcosuchus imperator
SizeWeight: 5,500 – 11,000 lbs Length: 26 – 39 ftWeight: 6,800 – 9,400 lbs Length: ~31 ft
LocationNorth AmericaAfrica
BehaviorAmbush predator, apex predatorAmbush predator, apex predator
Hunting TechniquesAmbush prey near water, death rollAmbush prey near water, powerful bite
DietLarge mammals, dinosaursLarge mammals, dinosaurs
LifespanEstimated to be several decadesEstimated to be several decades
Conservation StatusExtinctExtinct

Size Matters

Deinosuchus. Image by Daderot via Wikimedia CC0 1.0 – License

When it comes to sheer size, Deinosuchus takes the crown. With estimates placing its weight between 5,500 to 11,000 pounds and lengths of up to 39 feet, this ancient alligator dwarfed its crocodilian counterpart, Sarcosuchus. While Sarcosuchus was no slouch, weighing in at 6,800 to 9,400 pounds and reaching lengths of approximately 31 feet, it couldn’t match the colossal proportions of Deinosuchus.


A modern day American Alligator. Image by Maren Pauly via Unsplash

Both Deinosuchus and Sarcosuchus likely navigated waterways with finesse, utilizing their streamlined bodies for swift movement. While their exact speeds on land remain unknown, in water, they were formidable predators. Modern counterparts of these ancient giants, like saltwater crocodiles, can reach speeds of 15 to 18 mph, ensuring swift pursuit of prey.

Defensive Prowess and Offensive Arsenal

nile crocodile seen from above
A modern day Nile Crocodile. Image by Jen Palmer via Unsplash

With thick, reinforced bodies adorned with osteoderms and tough skin, both Deinosuchus and Sarcosuchus were veritable fortresses of scales. These natural armors made them formidable adversaries, providing protection against potential threats and enabling them to withstand considerable force.

Armed with rows of razor-sharp teeth and powerful jaws, both Deinosuchus and Sarcosuchus were apex predators capable of delivering devastating bites. Deinosuchus boasted a bite force of approximately 23,100 PSI and employed tactics like the infamous death roll to dispatch prey. Sarcosuchus, while slightly trailing in bite force with around 18,000 PSI, compensated with a formidable array of teeth and sheer brute strength.

Wrapping Up with the Largest Alligator vs. The Largest Crocodile

saltwater crocodile vs. african rock python
A modern day Saltwater Crocodile. Image by Bas Van BrandWijk via Unsplash

In the realm of ancient reptiles, size truly mattered. From the towering might of Deinosuchus to the formidable strength of Sarcosuchus, these prehistoric giants ruled the primordial waters. While their reign may have ended eons ago, their legacy lives on. As legends of the prehistoric world, they remind us of the awe-inspiring wonders that once roamed the Earth’s depths.

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