Most crocodiles can sprint at a maximum speed of 6 to 7 miles per hour. The fastest crocodile on record was clocked at 11 miles per hour, during a full gallop. By contrast, top human race-walkers reach speeds of 8 miles per hour without breaking into a full run.
The top speed available to an animal is partially due to its gait. Most crocodiles can perform what is called a belly run when walking or crawling is too slow. In a belly run, the body sways from side to side in an S-shaped motion, like the slithering of a snake, while the legs sprawl off to the sides. Although this is not a very fast run compared to what most prey are capable of, crocodiles are able to accelerate very quickly from a standing start and take other animals by surprise.
The gallop, which is a faster gait, is not available to all crocodiles. Smaller crocodiles and some larger ones perform the gallop by making large strides with fully stretched legs, somewhat like the bounding of a rabbit. As of 2012, the top human running speed is 27 miles per hour.