Scientific name:

Crocodylus niloticus (this article is about the Nile crocodile)

 

What makes it special:

This is the most common of the African crocodiles. It is widespread in and near Africa’s sub-Saharan rivers. This apex predator reptile is the second largest crocodile (the Saltwater croc is larger).

 

Recommended caliber:

A caliber of .338 to .375 is recommended.

Crocodile hunting - Dangerous game

Though it may appear to be lazy as it floats the rivers or basks on the riverbank, this is one of the most dreaded predators. It will attack almost any animal, or human, of up to twice its own considerable size. It sees and smells well and feels vibrations both in the water and on land, making it a difficult animal to hunt; it’s a shy and cautious but also fast and effective killer.

 

Hunting method

To get within shooting distance is difficult. One wrong move and it may disappear into the water where it makes no sense to shoot it; it will sink and it’s a really bad idea to get into the water to look for it. This is also why you need to make sure your first shot kills it fast or it will retreat to the water and you’ll never see it again. It’s hard to kill and you must place the shot very carefully. Therefore a blind with the right downward shooting angle and a solid rest plus a powerful scope is recommendable.

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Know the animal

Appearance

Often confused with alligators and other crocodilians, the crocodile does have some characteristics making it recognizable, other than its higher level of aggression. The head is narrower and more V-shaped than that of the alligators, which have a more U-shaped snout. The Nile crocodile does, however, have a relatively broad snout, especially the older animals. The color also changes when the it gets older; the dark bronze color gets even darker.

 

Habitat

They are semiaquatic meaning they live partly on land, partly in water. They are typically found in rivers, lakes, marshes, and dams. They congregate in freshwater areas. Earlier they were thought to inhabit the desert areas of western Africa, but most of those living here are now recognized as a distinct species; the West African (or desert) crocodile.

 

Diet

This reptile east just about any animal coming its way, often by lying in ambush at night to attack animals coming to drink from the water. They might lie up to 50 meters (170 ft.) from the water’s edge. They are capable of living for long time without eating, but when they do, it can be as much as up to half of its own body weight. Their forceful jaws and 64-68 teeth shaped like cones mean their prey don’t have good chances of escape.

 

Predators

Crocodiles are apex predators, i.e. has no natural enemies. They can even prey on other animals considered on top of the food chain like the lion, although this is more seldom, as these predators are more intelligent and know to avoid them. They also seldom attack such agile animals, as it costs too much energy compared to the chances of actually killing the prey.

 

Life cycle

They can reach the age of 100 years or even more. Hatched about 30 cm long (1 ft) they grow rapidly the first six years of their life with about 25 cm (10 in) per year. In contrast to other reptiles, the Nile crocodile guards its eggs and sometimes even helps the hatching process by rolling the eggs gently in their mouths until the babies emerge.

 

Behavior

These are killing machines both over and under water. They usually only dive for a couple of minutes, but can stay under water in up to half an hour. In fact up to two hours if they remains absolutely inactive. In the water they can swim at a speed of up to 35 km/h (22 mph). On land their short legs can move surprisingly fast; up to 13 km/h (8 mph) in brief bursts.

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Animal Facts

Weight and size

Average length: 4.1 metres (13 ft) to 5 metres (16 ft)

Average weight: Around 410 kg (900 lb)

Males are up to 30% larger than females

The largest one shot and measured was 6,45m (21ft2in) and weighed 1090kg (2400lb).

 

Habitat

They are semiaquatic meaning they live partly on land, partly in water.

 

Diet

A crocodile will eat just about any animal coming its way. They are capable of living for a long time without eating, but when they do eat, it can be as much as up to half of its own body weight.

 

Predators

These are apex predators, i.e. has no natural enemies.

 

Life cycle

Crocodiles can get as old as 100 years or even more.

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