Nile Crocodile

Nile Crocodile

Scientific Name: Crocodylus niloticus
Common Names: Nile Crocodile

Maximum adult length: 5 metres (16.4 feet)


N.B. Exceptionally large specimens can be found in all species of crocodilian.


The iconic crocodile found in Africa, the Nile crocodile is the second largest crocodile in the world, reaching a typical adult length of 4.5 metres (14.7 feet). The Nile crocodile is quite widespread throughout sub-Saharan Africa, the Nile Basin, and Madagascar in rivers, freshwater marshes, and mangrove swamps. On average the Nile crocodile is between 4 metres (13.1 feet) to 4.5 metres (14.7 feet), weighing around 410 kg (900 lb). However, specimens measuring 5 metres (16.4 feet) in length and weighing 600 kg (1,300 lb) can occasionally be seen. Nile crocodiles are found along the eastern and southern regions of Africa. The population in the West of the continent are now recognised as a separate crocodile species, the West African Crocodile (Crocodylus suchus).


The Nile crocodile is classified as Lower Risk/least concern on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species.


It is listed on CITES Appendix I [except the populations of Botswana, Egypt, Ethiopia, Kenya, Madagascar, Malawi, Mozambique, Namibia, South Africa, Uganda, the United Republic of Tanzania (subject to an annual export quota of no more than 1,600 wild specimens including hunting trophies, in addition to ranched specimens), Zambia and Zimbabwe, which are included in Appendix II].


Red List Category & Criteria: Lower Risk/least concern ver 3.1
Year Published: 2019
Date Assessed: 2017-04-30


nile status

Countries: Angola; Benin; Botswana; Burkina Faso; Burundi; Cameroon; Central African Republic; Chad; Congo; The Democratic Republic of the Congo; Côte d’Ivoire; Egypt; Equatorial Guinea; Eritrea; Ethiopia; Gabon; Gambia; Ghana; Guinea; Guinea-Bissau; Kenya; Liberia; Madagascar; Malawi; Mali; Mauritania; Mozambique; Namibia; Niger; Nigeria; Rwanda; Senegal; Sierra Leone; Somalia; South Africa; South Sudan; Sudan; Swaziland; Tanzania; Togo; Uganda; Zambia; Zimbabwe


The Nile crocodile inhabits a wide range of aquatic habitats, including large freshwater lakes, rivers, freshwater swamps, coastal estuaries and mangrove swamps. They have been known to enter the sea in some areas, with one individual having been seen 11 kilometres (6.8 miles) off St Lucia Bay in 1917. In Madagascar, they have adapted to living in caves.


The size of the prey depends on mostly the size of the crocodile. Young hatchlings generally feed on smaller prey, preferring small fish, frogs, insects and small aquatic invertebrates before taking on larger fish, amphibians and small reptiles. Juveniles and sub adults take a wider variety of prey with additions such as birds, turtles, snakes, Nile monitors and small to mid-sized mammals, such as various monkeys, duikers, rodents, mongoose, hares, pangolins, porcupines, bats, dik-dik, and other small ungulates up to the size of a Thomson’s gazelle. Various birds including, storks, small wading birds, waterfowl, fish eagles and even small swift flying birds may be snatched.


Adults are apex predators and prey upon various birds, reptiles and mammals, in addition to prey consumed also by the younger specimens. Large birds such as ostrich, and large snakes such pythons are among non-mammalian prey. Among the mammals, the bulk of the prey is antelopes. In general, gazelles, waterbuck, bushbuck, impala, sitatunga, lechwe, eland, kudu, gemsbok, sable antelope and wildebeest are among the most common prey. Zebras, warthogs and baboons are also readily taken. The largest adults sometimes take on larger prey such as giraffe, Cape buffalo, young hippos, and young elephants.


Cooperative hunting and pack hunting has been observed in populations of Nile crocodiles living in large bodies of water, or in very high traffic areas of rivers and lakes.

Hunted close to extinction in the 1940s through the 1960s, conservation measures have helped populations of Nile crocodiles recover in most areas. In some African countries, Nile crocodiles are protected legally. Threats to the population include habitat destruction, pollution and hunting by humans.


Given that Nile crocodiles are large predators capable of killing humans, a key element of conservation programs is developing management plans to balance the needs of local people living alongside a sustainable crocodile population.


Est. wild population: 50,000 to 70,000
Main conservation threats: Habitat destruction, illegal hunting and pollution


IUCN Red List (September, 2014)


At the zoo

You can’t miss our Nile crocodile display: we are home to a large group of some 25 sub-adult female Nile crocodiles! The sight of so many crocodiles is one visitors delight at. The Nile crocodiles are also one of the most gregarious species, so we felt confident in being able to keep so many together in a single enclosure.


Our Nile crocodiles came to us in July 2012 from La Ferme aux Crocodiles in Pierrelatte, France.


We also have two rescue animals here:


Lebby is a Nile crocodile who came to us as a rescue, having been caught in the wild in Lebanon. Lebby is one of the dominant crocs in this group, and interestingly is a hybrid (or cross) between the Nile crocodile and the West African crocodile. Lebby can be recognised as the the only croc in the enclosure with a paler, yellowy colouration – a really beautiful crocodile!


The other dominant croc in the group is Kasja – an ex-pet that was confiscated by Swedish authorities before being sent to us. Kasja is easy to identify, since she has a prominent white triangle on her lower back.


Our group of Nile crocodiles enables us to use the enclosure as our regular crocodile feeding display. With this many crocs, we can feed small amounts of food to the group daily such that these small snacks add up over the week to a good-sized meal for each crocodile.


Adopting our Nile crocodiles will assist us in fast-tracking our much-needed new crocodile building. One of the key features of this new building will be an enlarged area for this growing group of crocodiles.



  • Danny Farrelly Grimley
  • Rupert Capener
  • Hugo Hanson
  • Matthew Fowkes
  • Lillie Hunter
  • Jeffrey Fowler
  • Matteo Tucci
  • Timothy Bethune
  • Alison Reynolds
  • Richard Bennet
  • Joel Crocby
  • Thomas Jarvis
  • Laura McClelland
  • Ellie Johnston
  • Talon Ashley Crocodile Clothier-Jones

Any Questions?

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