Nile crocodiles are the much feared reptilian predators of Africa's rivers and lakes. Lurking almost totally submerged in the water, they lie in wait for passing prey. Once caught in those long powerful jaws, little escapes, not even large buffalo and wildebeest, which get dragged into the water and drowned. Their large bodies and long tails hide some pretty quick reflexes and quite fast bursts of speed. Nile crocodiles are extremely attentive and protective parents, with a surprisingly delicate touch. Strange as it may seem, their nests and young hatchlings are very vulnerable to predators.
Scientific name: Crocodylus niloticus
The ultimate ambush predator - striking images in ultra slow motion.
Nile crocodiles strike their targets suddenly from murky water just 30cm deep. A Tornado camera filmed 1,000 frames per second to give this sequence its excruciating detail. The action is slowed down 40 times and the resulting few seconds-worth of film (around 16Gb) has to be downloaded straight on to a laptop before anything else can be filmed.
Species range provided by WWF's Wildfinder.
The following habitats are found across the Nile crocodile distribution range. Find out more about these environments, what it takes to live there and what else inhabits them.
Discover what these behaviours are and how different plants and animals use them.
Additional data source: Animal Diversity Web
Year assessed: 1996
Classified by: IUCN 2.3
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