Nile crocodiles (Crocodylus niloticus) were once widespread in eastern and southern Africa, but are now scarcer. With powerful jaws, strong tails, a terrifying turn of speed and stealth belying their enormous size, these crocodiles are efficient killing machines. Nile crocodiles have evolved to be very good at fishing, and during the times of the year when fish migrate along the rivers, they hunt cooperatively. Forming cordons across rivers, they herd the fish into shallow waters, where they can be picked off with ease.

Nile crocodiles are ecologically important as predators. They help to keep the environment in balance by eating catfish, which are predators themselves. By keeping the catfish numbers in check, Nile crocodiles allow the smaller fish, which are eaten by catfish, to thrive, providing food for more than 40 species of bird. In turn, bird dropping fertilize the waters, keeping them rich enough to support a large diversity of life.


ARKive photos and videos of the Nile crocodile