Crocodile attack

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Crocodile warning sign, Trinity Beach, Queensland, Australia
Crocodile warning sign, Urban Park, Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso

Crocodile attacks on people are common in places where large crocodiles are native and human populations live. Only six of the 23 crocodilian species are considered dangerous to adult humans, and only individuals 2 metres (6.6 ft) in length or more represent a serious danger to humans, as smaller crocodiles are considered incapable of killing a person. However, even the smallest species can inflict painful bites requiring stitches if harassed. In addition, a small child may be of a similar size to the prey of some of the crocodilian species incapable of preying on adult humans.

The two species with the most well-known and documented reputation for preying on humans are the Nile crocodile and saltwater crocodile. Each year, hundreds of deadly attacks are attributed to the Nile crocodile in sub-Saharan Africa. On New Guinea, Borneo and the Solomon Islands attacks by saltwater crocodiles often occur. The mugger crocodile is also very dangerous to humans, killing many people in India every year. The American crocodile, while generally considered to be less aggressive, does occasionally kill humans and a handful of fatalities are reported and confirmed every year in Central America and southern Mexico. The black caiman is also responsible for several recorded human fatalities every year within the Amazon basin and the surrounding regions. The American alligator is responsible for human fatalities, with most occurring in Florida.



An accurate count of annual crocodile attacks on humans is difficult to obtain. Many of the areas in which humans and large crocodiles come into contact are remote, impoverished, or in areas of political unrest. Thus, crocodile attacks are not always reported to local authorities, and some reports are difficult to verify. However some information does exist; for example, it was reported by the Campfire project in Zimbabwe that in the first ten months of the year in 2005 Crocodiles were the number one cause of death in humans where wildlife was involved – with the number of deaths cited as 13. Unlike other "man-eating" crocodiles, such as the saltwater crocodile, the Nile crocodile lives in close proximity to human populations, so contact is more frequent. Although most attacks do not get reported, the Nile crocodile is estimated to kill hundreds (possibly thousands) of people each year, which is more than all other crocodilian species combined.[1][2] One study posited the number of attacks by Nile crocodiles per year as 275 to 745, of which 63% are fatal, as opposed to an estimated 30 attacks per year by saltwater crocodiles, of which 50% are fatal. In both species, the mean size of crocodiles involved in nonfatal attacks was about 3 m (9.8 ft) as opposed to a reported range of 2.5–5 m (8.2–16 ft) or larger for crocodiles responsible for fatal attacks. Since a majority of fatal attacks are believed to be predatory in nature, the Nile crocodile can be considered the most prolific predator of humans among wild animals.[3]

The most deaths in a single crocodile attack incident may have occurred during the Battle of Ramree Island, on February 19, 1945, in what is now Burma. Nine hundred soldiers of an Imperial Japanese Army unit, in an attempt to retreat from the Royal Navy and rejoin a larger battalion of the Japanese infantry, crossed through ten miles of mangrove swamps that contained saltwater crocodiles. Twenty Japanese soldiers were captured alive by the British, and almost five hundred are known to have escaped Ramree. Many of the remainder may have been eaten by the crocodiles, although since this incident took place during an active military conflict, it is impossible to know how many deaths can be directly attributed to the crocodiles instead of to combat-related causes.[4]

Notable attacks

Saltwater crocodile

It is estimated that each year hundreds of people die from crocodile attacks in Africa—many of these attacks are never reported in the media. With no accurate reporting system in place, crocodile attacks in Africa are difficult to track and very few are reproduced here. The vast majority of attacks recorded below have occurred in Southeast Asia and Australia.


See also


  1. ^ Wood, The Guinness Book of Animal Facts and Feats. Sterling Pub Co Inc (1983), ISBN 978-0-85112-235-9
  2. ^ "Crocodile Attack in Australia: An Analysis of Its Incidence and Review of the Pathology and Management of Crocodilian Attacks in General". Retrieved 2010-03-16.
  3. ^
  4. ^ Frank McLynn: The Burma Campaign: Disaster Into Triumph, 1942-45. Yale University Press 2011, ISBN 978-0-300-17162-4, pp. 13-15, 459 (online copy at Google Books)
  5. ^ Bujang Senang in Malay with picture.
  6. ^ "People trap crocodile at Neyyar". 2001-05-26. Retrieved 2011-06-02. 
  7. ^ "Killer crocodile abnormal". 2001-01-04. Retrieved 2011-06-02. 
  8. ^ Wendy Lewis (2007). See Australia and Die. New Holland. ISBN 978-1-74110-583-4. 
  9. ^ a b c d e f g h i Recent crocodile deaths in Australia. (2009-04-11). Retrieved on 2011-03-19.
  10. ^ Snorkel Brit Is Killed By Croc. (2005-09-27). Retrieved on 2011-03-19.
  11. ^ Croc leaves only girl's head: World: News: News24. Retrieved on 2011-03-19.
  12. ^ Croc kills kid at holiday park: News24: World: News. News24 (2007-04-22). Retrieved on 2011-03-19.
  13. ^ Boy's body found in crocodile BBC News, 18 February 2009.
  14. ^ Crocodile Kills NJ Woman Lauren Failla Snorkeling in Indian Ocean. (2010-05-07). Retrieved on 2011-03-19.
  15. ^ Lauren Failla DEAD: Vanderbilt Alum Killed By Crocodile 4 Years After Sister Dies In Climbing Accident. Retrieved on 2011-03-19.
  16. ^ "River guide believed killed by crocodile in Congo". CNN. December 9, 2010. Retrieved 8 December 2010. 
  17. ^ Philippines catches 'largest crocodile on record' Retrieved on 2011-09-13.
  18. ^ a b "Crocodile swallows Indonesian girl". Sydney Morning Herald. Agence France-Presse. 21 January 2012. Retrieved 21 January 2012. 

Further reading

External links

Specific attacks