Nile Crocodile vs. Saltwater Crocodile

Who would be victorious in a fight between these two epic predators?

The Nile crocodile is one of the world’s largest and most powerful crocodiles.

In ancient times, Egyptians considered the Nile crocodile as the god of fertility, power, and protection.

This huge, robust and magnificent creature is a source of fear for most people.

The largest living reptiles on earth are saltwater crocodiles. These massive prehistoric creatures go by various names, including the sea crocodile, the saltie estuarine crocodile, marine crocodile, and the Indo-Pacific crocodile.

They reside in regions from Australia to India and Asia, so they are widely known throughout the world.

Size and Description

The second-largest species of crocodiles on earth is the Nile crocodile. The average adult grows up to 5 meters or 16.5 feet long and can weigh up to 140 kgs or 900 lbs.

However, some are exceptionally large that have been discovered at unusual sizes up to 6 meters or 19.6 feet long and weigh 900 Kgs or 2,000 lbs.

Nile crocodiles are known for their olive or dark grey color. Their body is tough and has bony scaley plates with dark bands that run across their backs.

The underside is a yellow or cream color with intermittent black patches.

Their long aerodynamic and streamlined bodies lead to a narrow jaw with those trademark visible teeth that are outside the mouth even when the jaw is closed, giving the Nile crocodile a formidable and distinctive aggressive look.

The nostrils, eyes, and ears all sit at the top of the head, this allows them to hear, see, and breathe while mostly submerged under the waters.

They have long tails that are insanely muscular along with webbed feet that help them propel through the waters to catch prey.

Saltwater crocodiles are the largest living reptiles on earth. Adult males can easily reach 6 meters or 19 feet, and weigh from 2200lbd (1000 kgs) to a massive 2650 lbs (1200kgs).

Adult females on the other hand are much smaller and do not exceed 3 meters or 10 feet on average.

Unlike the Nile crocodile’s narrow head, the Saltwater crocodile has a large bulky head. They have large and prominent ridges that run from the center of the snout along the center to the eyes.

Saltwater crocodiles have scales that are light tan to grey and are oval. The bony plates, which are also called scutes, are reasonably small compared to other species of crocodiles.

The underbelly of the Saltwater crocodile ranges from white to yellow with stripes that are visible on the lower sides of the body but absent on the belly. This helps it with camouflage when hiding in wait for prey. Their powerful tails drive them through the water and often have grey dark bands.

The larger saltwater crocodile boasts a heavy set of jaws with between 64 – and 68 teeth. To maintain their body temperature, Saltwater crocodiles use thermoregulation.

To cool themselves, they submerge themselves in water and if they need to warm themselves they bask in the sun.

Range and Habitat

Nile crocodiles mostly inhabit the Senegal River, Sudan, Okavango, Wadai, Delta, Cunene, and around Lake Chad.

They can also be found in the southern and western parts of Madagascar. Some particular species have also been witnessed in some areas in Comoros and Zanzibar.

They cover entire sub-Saharan Africa. Nile crocodiles settle in their habitats mainly in coastal lagoons, rivers, and estuaries.

Their habitats of choice are rivers, lakes, dams, and marshes. However, they have also been observed to find refuge in the sea belts in some regions.

Found in areas ranging from New Guinea and Indonesia Islands to the Coasts of Northern Australia, the Crocodylus Porosus (saltwater crocodile) is found anywhere there is suitable prey.

From the shores of Sri Lanka and Eastern India, the living areas of the Crocodylus Porosus range from the West to the river mouths and shorelines of southeast Asia. They can also be found in the Philippines, central Vietnam, Borneo, and even as far as the Solomon Islands and Palau Vanuatu.

They are solid and resilient swimmers that can be found quite far from shore in the sea and saltwater rivers.

The Saltwater Crocodile shows a high salinity tolerance, being found predominantly in coastal waters or around rivers.

However may also be found in freshwater rivers, billabongs, and swamps.

Food and Nutrition

Nile crocodiles are carnivores and only feed once a week and sometimes even for longer periods. Their diet consists of fish, reptiles, small to medium-sized mammals, and even birds if they manage to catch them close to the waters.

They lie motionless in the water, waiting for their prey, with only their eyes and nostrils above the surface.

They use their teeth to hold on to their food, not break it up.

They are ambitious predators, and at times when their prey is too large to swallow, they tear it into bite-size pieces with twisting and slinging movements. The teeth are replaced with new ones every eight to ten months.

The Saltwater Crocodile is not a fussy predator and enjoys various types of prey.

When young, the Crocodylus porosus is restricted to smaller, easier prey like small amphibians, small fish, crustaceans, other reptiles, and insects.

As they become older and grow in size, appetite, and hunting skills, they progress to turtles, mud crabs, birds, snakes, wild boars, buffalo, and monkeys.

When hunting for food, the saltwater crocodile usually hides underwater, waiting still with the nostrils, eyes, and the top of the jaws exposed.

Prey will often approach. Unaware of the danger, the crocodile lunges out of the water and attacks, often killing its prey with a powerful jaw snap.

The aggressive Saltwater Crocodile then drags the prey under the water, often performing the death roll maneuver, where it rolls until the prey is drowned and it is more easily consumed, often stored for eating over a few sessions.


The Nile crocodiles are solitary reptiles, however, they can periodically be seen hunting in small groups consisting of a group of individuals.

They usually use a unique technique, enclosing an area of water to concentrate fish. Impressive isn’t it.

The more dominant crocs eats first, as they each honor the hierarchies of the group and each eats in turn.

These reptiles are mainly nocturnal. By day, crocodiles typically sunbathe or cool off in the water if needed, resting during the day and preparing to hunt at night.

Male crocodiles are highly territorial; they patrol and defend their territories, including a part of the shoreline, extending about 50 meters into the water.

Nile crocodiles usually dive for a few minutes before they reach the surface; however, they can remain submerged for up to 30 minutes when threatened.

They are exceptionally fast runners, and in general, these crocodiles have rapid reflexes but tire quickly.

With a reputation for being fiercely aggressive and territorial, the saltwater crocodile is not a social animal in any shape or form.

They are not tolerant of any other male in their territory at all, they will fiercely defend their habitat. Although, at times, they will tolerate females,

Similar to the Nile Crocodile, the saltwater crocodile is nocturnal, sunbathing and floating restfully in the water during the day, conserving its energy for the nighttime hunt.

Saltwater crocodiles are cold-blooded animals just like their Nile cousins, they rely on their habitat to constantly maintain their body temperature. This is why they prefer warmer tropical areas.

They can communicate in various forms, from vocalization to chemical and visual signals.

Meanwhile, young crocodiles usually emit “chirping” sounds to attract their mother’s attention or to keep members of the creche together

Now let’s go to the most critical part, the fight!
Who would win in a fight between a Nile and Saltwater Crocodile?

Nile crocodiles of the same length are slightly heavier than the Saltwater crocodile. Saltwater crocodiles have more stamina underwater and are faster when compared to Nile crocodiles.

Nile crocodile has more rough and thick skin. They both have similar jaw structures and bite forces.

It’s not rare to see Crocodiles trying to bite and kill each other. Saltwater crocodiles have better stamina than Nile crocodiles and seldom get tired of holding onto prey and rolling over continuously to drown it.

Behavior is only slightly different: while Nile crocs can be very aggressive, saltwater crocodiles are even more so and show more cunning and audacity.

But the tipping point is the size. The largest male Nile crocodile found in the record was 1,000 pounds. That’s about average for male adult Saltwater crocodiles.

The largest salties are 2,000 lbs. So even if we use the average size for both, the Saltwater croc will be twice the mass and be able to overpower the Nile crocodile.

So, in my opinion, the Salt Water crocodile would win the fight with the Nile crocodile.

Recent Posts