In this brief guide, we will answer the query, “What do crocodiles eat?” We will also discuss the amount of food a crocodile eats, their ways of hunting, and the reason why they are considered successful hunters.
What do crocodiles eat?
Crocodiles are carnivores so most of the food they eat consists of insects, fish, small frogs, lizards, crustaceans, and small mammals while they are in the wild. Wild crocodiles will even devour a human if they get the opportunity.
Since crocodiles live in both freshwater as well as in salt water, their food sources are unique and varied. Saltwater crocodiles are said to be wilder with a huge appetite in comparison to freshwater crocodiles. Given the wide variation in crocodile species, their appetite depends on their habitat and natural diversity.
When held captive or while feeding the pet crocodiles, they are mostly fed with different meats cut into bite-sized pieces. Sometimes, live food such as fish and insects can be placed in the water to encourage the crocodile to hunt.
The diet of wild crocodiles mostly consists of fish, birds, turtles, frogs, snakes, wild boars, wild beasts, sharks, and crustaceans such as crabs, deer, or other small mammals. They also attack and feed on baby elephants or rhinos. Likewise, pet crocodiles or captive crocodiles in zoos or aquariums are mostly given mice, rats, raw chicken, raw beef, and fish.
How much does a crocodile eat?
On average, a crocodile feeds 2-5 pounds of meat each day, or around 5% of its body weight per week. However, the amount of meat a crocodile consumes is dependent on their total size and the amount of food accessible to them.
If a crocodile is surrounded by a lot of prey, it will eat much more than 2 pounds of meat every day. Crocodiles are opportunistic reptiles, so they won’t leave any opportunity to attack and feed on their prey. They will eat much more fish and aquatic creatures during wet and rainy months while they are in the water. While in the land, they will get their jaws on any animal they get a chance.
According to the Journal of Herpetology, the minimum food that an adolescent crocodile needs for survival is equivalent to 4% of its body weight weekly depending on its size. Likewise, a captive crocodile needs to eat at least four times that amount.
It is easier for wild crocodiles to search for food since they are not a picky eater. They will eat most anything that crosses their path or waterways while on land or in the water. Depending on the location of the species and the current weather, crocodiles will eat a variety of different things. Also, they usually require less food than warm-blooded mammals.
How does a wild crocodile hunt for food?
Crocodiles hunt in small groups and unusual ways when they are in the water. They are frequently mistaken for logs or trees in the water. Crocodiles use this to their advantage and ambush unsuspecting prey. Crocodiles have also been found to use branches or distractions to fool birds and other animals.
They mostly hunt in groups when it comes to larger prey. Once a crocodile bites their victim, they are unlikely to let go of them. One of the unique ways crocodiles use to hurt is by drowning. If a crocodile catches a bird or a mammal drinking water from the river’s edge, they will use the water to their benefit and drag their prey down with them just like drowning.
Crocodiles also lose a lot of teeth when hunting throughout their lives. A crocodile can lose and replace up to 7,000 teeth before dying, depending on the species and how difficult hunting is for them.
Why are crocodiles considered successful hunters?
Crocodiles are considered successful hunters because of their powerful jaws. Most prey cannot escape once the crocodiles get a hold of them. Crocodiles are capable of biting down with at least 1,000 pounds of pressure, so escaping from the hold of a crocodile is not possible for an average-sized animal or even humans.
So, be wary of crocodiles if you see them nearby in the wild or the zoos. Learn more about the strengths of crocodiles as hunters here.
In this brief guide, we have answered the query, “What do crocodiles eat?” We have also discussed the amount of food a crocodile eats, their ways of hunting, and the reason why they are considered successful hunters.