Saltwater crocodiles: how much can it grow

The maximum ascertained length is 7.1 meters

by Lorenzo Ciotti
Saltwater crocodiles: how much can it grow

There are various tales of saltwater crocodiles with dimensions over eight meters, but they must be evaluated carefully. The British Museum holds a skull of a marine crocodile which is said to have belonged to a 10.1m long animal captured in the Bay of Bengal.

However, the measurement of the skull leads to the conclusion that the actual dimensions must have been in a range between 4.5 and 5.5 m. The Kanika family of Orissa in India retains the skull of a marine crocodile killed, it is said, in 1926, which appears to have been around 7.6 m.

The data, in the absence of the skeleton, is however not certain. Some sources indicate the discovery of a specimen of 8.90 m, of which, however, the authenticity has never been confirmed. In Australia there are tales of old hunters who speak of prey over eight meters in length, the famous episode of Normanton in Queensland, Australia which mentions a specimen of 8.63 meters killed in 1957 and renamed Krys, but without precise measurements and certified are intended to be classified as legends.

It was probably once relatively easy to find large marine crocodiles in the swamps of Australia and Lower Asia. However, the merciless hunting of the first half of the 20th century decimated these specimens. Swimming in the open sea, it can come into contact with predatory sharks even of large dimensions, such as the white shark, the tiger shark and the hammerhead shark.

However, sharks and crocodiles are not always enemies: a video published by National Geographic in September 2017, shot with the aid of a drone, showed tiger sharks and sea crocodiles feeding together on the carcass of a whale, tolerating each other's presence.

The clash between tigers and marine crocodiles has been documented several times in the vicinity of rivers. Especially if the fight is on land, the tiger manages to get the better of it: it has been documented, with several videos, how the tiger manages to kill the crocodile making the most of its agility.

In another video, a marine crocodile in the water killed a tiger that was standing on the edge of the river while trying to drink. Probably the tigers manage to prey on and kill the crocodiles on the mainland, however, running a mortal danger if the scene of the clash becomes water.

A specimen of adult male of marine crocodile reaches the 3,5-6 m of length for 200-1000 kg of weight. Like all crocodiles, it grows throughout its life, albeit at a faster rate during the years of its youth and more slowly once it reaches full maturity.

The maximum ascertained length is 7.1 meters. There are various tales of crocodiles over eight meters in size but they are often classified as legends. Males of over six meters are however rare, particularly after the intensive hunting of the first half of the 20th century, which exterminated the larger animals.

In general, however, captive crocodiles and hybrids grow more and faster. For example, the Yai crocodile, a hybrid of C. porosus and C. siamensis held in captivity in Bangkok, at the age of 30 in 2000 reached 6 meters in length and 1,200 kg in weight, becoming the largest crocodile kept in captivity.

. Today its growth has slowed but continues. According to researchers Gordon Grigg and Carl Gans, Australian sea crocodiles can reach 7 meters in length and a weight of 2 tons.