What Does the Nile Crocodile Eat?

nile-crocodile-eat Credit: Bernard DUPONT/CC-BY-SA 2.0

The main diet of the Nile crocodile is fish, but crocodiles are opportunistic hunters. They prey upon most anything that crosses their path, including zebras, small hippos, birds, rodents and other crocodiles. Common prey species include antelope, monkeys, gazelles, water buck and impala.

Encounters with people have also led to fatalities. Experts estimate that as many as 200 people die each year as a result of crocodile attacks. Nile crocodiles are also scavengers that feed on carrion. A crocodile may eat up to half of its body weight at a single feeding.

The Nile crocodile is the second largest, and one of three species of crocodile, found in Africa. It can reach sizes of up 20 feet and can weigh as much as 900 pounds. The Nile crocodile makes its home in freshwater marshes, lakes, rivers and mangrove swamps. It is an apex predator known for its aggressive nature and voracious appetite. Larger adults make take on small elephants, giraffe and young hippos.

The Nile crocodile nearly faced extinction during the 1940s through the 1960s from habitat threats, hunting and pollution. Conservation efforts have helped their numbers to recover, and as of 2015, in some African countries the Nile crocodile is now protected.