Where to see Crocodiles in the wild

Do you want to know where to see crocodiles in the wild? Crocodiles are large semiaquatic reptiles that live throughout the tropics in Africa, Asia, the Americas and Australia.

Crocodiles are a living link with the dinosaur-like reptiles of prehistoric times and are the nearest living relatives of the birds. A large variety of crocodilian fossils have been discovered that date back 200 million years to the Late Triassic Epoch. 

Intrigued? Stay tuned for facts about these prehistoric reptilian predators and the best places to encounter them around the world. Read on or jump to a headline of your interest…

Types of Crocodiles

All about Crocodiles

Fun Facts

Crocodiles vs Alligators

Safety Tips

Where to see crocodiles

Summary

Types Of Crocodiles

There are 13 species of crocodiles, so there are many different sizes of crocodile. The smallest crocodile is the dwarf crocodile. It grows to about 5.6 feet (1.7 meters) in length and weighs 13 to 15 pounds (6 to 7 kilograms). The largest crocodile is the saltwater crocodile. 

We have covered the most commonly encountered 8 types of crocodiles.

Salt water Crocodile

have an enormous range, populating the brackish and freshwater regions of eastern India, Southeast Asia, and northern Australia. They are excellent swimmers and have often been spotted far out at sea. 

The largest crocodile is the Saltwater Crocodile, which can grow up to 23.0 ft (7.0 m) in length, weighing 2,200 – 2,600 lb (1,000 to 1,200 kg, or 150 to 190 stone).

American Crocodile

It is the most widespread of the four extant species of crocodiles from the Americas, with populations present from South Florida and the coasts of Mexico to as far south as Peru and Venezuela.

Marsh/ Mugger Crocodile

marsh crocodile

The mugger crocodile, also called marsh crocodile, broad-snouted crocodile and mugger, is a crocodilian native to freshwater habitats from southern Iran to the Indian subcontinent. Vulnerable status.

Nile Crocodile

where to see crocodiles in the wild; kruger national park
A crocodile resting on a sand bank. Taken in Kruger National Park, South Africa

The Nile crocodile, native to freshwater habitats in Africa, is present in 26 countries. Due to its widespread occurrence and stable population trend, it has been listed as Least Concern on the IUCN Red List since 1996.

Dwarf Crocodile

The dwarf crocodile, also known as the African dwarf crocodile, broad-snouted crocodile or bony crocodile, is an African crocodile that is also the smallest extant species of crocodile.

Fresh Water Crocodile

fresh water crocodile in australia

The freshwater crocodile, also known as the Australian freshwater crocodile, Johnstone’s crocodile or colloquially as freshie, is a species of crocodile endemic to the northern regions of Australia.

Cuban Crocodile

The Cuban crocodile is a small-medium species of crocodile found only in Cuba. Highly aggressive. The Cuban crocodile is one of the world’s most endangered species of crocodile. It is considered critically endangered and has a population of only about 4,000. Poaching is a constant threat to the crocodile species. 

West African Slender Snouted Crocodile

slender snouted crocodile

The West African slender-snouted crocodile is a critically endangered species of African crocodile. It is one of five species of crocodile in Africa.

About

Scientific name: Crocodylinae
Lifespan: Saltwater crocodile: 70 years, Nile crocodile: 70 – 100 years
Speed: Saltwater crocodile: 24 – 29 km/h, American crocodile: 32 km/h, Nile crocodile: 30 – 35 km/h
Mass: Saltwater crocodile: 400 – 1 500 kg, American crocodile: 400 – 500 kg, Nile crocodile: 220 – 550 kg
Length: Saltwater crocodile: 4,3 – 5,2 m, American crocodile: 4,1 – 4,8 m, Nile crocodile: 4,2 m

The crocodilian form is adapted to an amphibious way of life. Its body is elongated, and its long, muscular tail is well suited to rapid swimming. They have evolved to be one of the most resilient predators in existence through their highly developed sense; Crocodiles have acute senses, an evolutionary advantage that makes them successful predators. The eyes, ears and nostrils are located on top of the head, allowing the crocodile to lie low in the water, almost totally submerged and hidden from prey.

Crocodile teeth:

Crocodiles can go through 4,000 teeth over a lifetime. They are able to replace each of their 80 teeth up to 50 times over their lifespan.

Distribution & Habitat

adult crocodile

Crocodiles are large reptiles that habitat the tropics of the Americas, Australia, Africa and Asia. Europe is the only continent that they don’t natively live in.

Crocodiles are inhabitants of swamps, lakes, and rivers, although some species make their way to brackish water or to the sea. 

Behavior

Some species are active during the day, while other species are only nocturnal. Crocodiles mostly hunt at night, are carnivorous animals and very efficient hunters, with excellent hearing and eyesight.

They are aggressive, ambush predators, waiting for their prey to venture close to their hiding position, before rushing to attack.

Diet

A crocs diet mostly includes other animals, reptiles, birds and fish. Some species like the freshwater crocodile will mostly eat fish, while larger species like the saltwater crocodile or the Nile crocodile, will consume buffalo, zebra, deer and wild boar.

Breeding

The breeding season varies based on the type of crocodile and geographical location. Freshwater crocodiles breed during the dry season. The season is mid-summer in the southern hemisphere and mid-winter in the northern hemisphere. Saltwater crocodiles breed during the opposite wet season. 

All crocodiles lay hard-shelled eggs, which may weigh 50–160 grams

How long do crocodiles live

Crocodiles in captivity are known to have lived up to 70 years. The longevity of crocodiles in the wild is poorly known. 

Crocodile Speed

where to see crocodiles swimming

Crocodiles are extremely fast in the water, swimming up to speeds of 35 kilometers per hour (22 mph). The land speed record for a crocodile is 17 km/h (11 mph) measured in a galloping Australian freshwater crocodile.

Communication

Crocodiles vocalize to communicate. The young of some species squeak and grunt, while adult crocs can growl, hiss or roar at each other.

Intelligence

Crocodiles are capable of complex behaviors. They are often curious and show evidence of rapid learning. Captive individuals of some species are known to recognize their keepers and show neither fear nor aggressiveness. They can observe and use patterns of prey behavior, such as when prey come to the river to drink at the same time each day.

Conservation

where to see crocodiles in south africa
Nile Crocodile. Kruger National Park. South Africa.

Throughout their range, crocodile populations have declined as human occupation and land use change has reduced their habitat. Many crocodilian species have been greatly depleted by overhunting for their valuable skins—which provide leather for handbags, shoes, belts, and other articles. Sustainable harvesting, regulated trade, and education have become valuable components of crocodilian conservation.

Fun Facts about Crocs

# Around for 200 million years.

# They are members of the order Crocodilia, which also includes alligators, caimans, and gharials.

#Crocs can hold their breath underwater for more than an hour.

#Larger crocodiles can go for over a year without eating a meal.

#Crocodiles have appeared in various forms in religions across the world. Ancient Egypt;  Sobek, the crocodile-headed god, and Taweret, the goddess of childbirth and fertility.

 #Cannibalism and social exclusion are thought to greatly affect population dynamics and regulate population growth.

The origin of ” crying Crocodile Tears” : “Crying crocodile tears” refers to a person expressing insincere remorse. It is a saying that goes back to about the 16th century/t is derived from an ancient anecdote that crocodiles weep in order to lure their prey, or that they cry for the victims they are eating. Crocodiles DO produce tears.

How old are Crocodiles ?

Crocodiles have evolved over 200 million years but the species first appeared 95 million years ago in the Late Cretaceous period. They are the closest living relatives of birds; the two groups are the only known survivors of the Archosauria.

Difference between crocodiles and alligators

Alligator
Pictured above is an alligator.

To most people, alligators and crocodiles look similar. While they do share many of the same features, they couldn’t be any more different to a trained professional.

Typically, crocodiles are more aggressive than alligators, which makes crocodiles more dangerous than alligators. Alligators are opportunistic feeders. They do not hunt unless it is necessary. However, that certainly doesn’t mean that you should swim with them. Caution should be exercised at all times near alligators and crocodiles.

Crocodile vs alligator snout

Alligators have a wide, rounded, u-shaped snout, while crocodiles have long, pointed, v-shaped snouts.

Crocodiles are different from alligators in this sense, where both upper and lower jaws of a crocodile are the same size, exposing their teeth as they interlock, creating the look of a toothy grin.

Is it safe to see Crocodiles?

The larger species of crocodiles are very dangerous to humans, mainly because of their ability to strike before the person can react. The saltwater crocodile and Nile crocodile are the most dangerous, killing hundreds of people each year in parts of Southeast Asia and Africa.

Safety tips:

Always keep a watch for crocodiles. They will see you before you see them. Never provoke, harass or interfere with crocodiles, even small ones. Never feed crocodiles — it is illegal and dangerous.  even in areas where proactive crocodile management is well-established, ultimate responsibility for your safety lies with you.

Where to see Crocodiles

where to see crocodiles

We have featured some of the most common places to encounter crocodiles in the wild around the world.

Where to see Crocodiles in USA

There are over 200,000 alligators and crocodiles in the Everglades—but over 1.5 million in the state of Florida! The coastal plains of the southeastern United States are home to most gators, who live in both natural and man-made freshwater lakes, ponds, rivers, and wetland areas.

Everglades National Park, Florida

Tour Operators:

Everglades Nature Tours

Everglades swamp tours

Where to see Crocodiles in South Africa

Only the Nile crocodile (Crocodylus niloticus) occurs naturally in South Africa, and they are formidable predators. A large adult is capable of preying on even the largest species of megafauna – like buffalo and wildebeest.

  • Kruger National park, Mpumalanga
  • St Lucia reserve, KZN
  • Ndumo Game Reserve
  • Isimangaliso Wetland Park

Tour Operator:

Crocodile kruger activities

Sentashya Safari

St Lucia Safaris and Tours

Siyabona Africa

Heritage tours and safaris

Where to see Crocodiles in Australia

Australia is home to only two species of crocodile, but can boast having the largest; the Saltwater Crocodile. Although ‘salties‘ can live in the sea, they prefer estuaries and freshwater swamps across northern Australia and will often venture inland during the breeding season.

  • Kakadu National park
  • Adelaide River, Northern Territory

Tour Operators:

Kakadu Tours

Adelaide River Tours

Jumping Crocodile Cruise

Where to see Crocodiles in Cuba

Endemic to Cuba, the Cuban crocodile is the most terrestrial of all crocodile species, with long and strong legs that distinguish it from its relatives. They were once found across the Caribbean and the Bahamas but hunting reduced the population to a small region of Cuba.

Where to see Crocodiles in Sri Lanka

Sri Lanka has two species of crocodiles. One is the Mugger or Marsh crocodile. The other is the Saltwater or Estuarine crocodile. Sri Lanka is home to around 2,500 to 3,500 saltwater crocodiles, more than half of which are found in national parks.

  • Wilpattu,
  • Yala,
  • Bundala National Parks.

Tour Operator: Wildlife Tours Sri Lanka

Where to see Crocodiles in India

three crocodilians species found in India, Mugger crocodile, the Gharial and the Saltwater Crocodile. The Mugger crocodile and the gharial are found throughout the Indian subcontinent. They are known to be very aggressive and ambush their hunters.

They mostly prey on fish, reptiles, birds and mammals. In some villages in India’s western state of Gujarat, locals live in proximity to Mugger crocodiles.

  • Indira Gandhi Wildlife Sanctuary and National Park is known as Anamalai Tiger Reserve; notable for largest population of mugger crocodile in India.
  • National Chambal Sanctuary, Rajasthan; popular habitat for Gharial Crocodiles
  • Katarniaghat Wildlife Sanctuary: Gharial Crocodiles
  • Bhitarkanika National Park, Odisha : Saltwater Crocodile population
  • Sunderban National Park, West Bengal

Tour Operator: Nature Safari India

Summary

where to see crocodiles in the wild

These prehistoric reptiles are a privilege to witness in the wild. Importantly, safety is foremost the biggest concern, and it is up to the tour guide and tourist to be as informed of protocols as possible.

Many thrilling and educational tours exist to keep viewers amazed at a safe distance.

Interested in a world of reptiles? Take a look at our blogs featuring animals of the Amazon, a world of sea snakes and where to encounter non venomous snakes; the boa constrictors!

In a while crocodile!

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