The 10 Largest Prehistoric Crocodiles That Ever Walk

Crocodiles are some of the largest and most fearsome predators on the planet, capable of taking down prey many times their size.

These prehistoric-looking creatures have fascinated people for centuries, with many individuals wondering just how big they can get.

Here are the ten largest crocodiles ever recorded, including their impressive sizes and the stories behind their incredible feats.

From massive saltwater crocodiles to their lesser-known relatives, we will delve into the world of these ancient reptiles and discover what makes them such formidable creatures.

The saltwater crocodile is the largest crocodile species in the world

Overall, the saltwater crocodile (Crocodylus porosus) is the biggest of all living crocodilians.

Average-size males reach 17 feet (5.2 meters) and 1,000 pounds (450 kg), but specimens 20+ feet (6+ meters) long and weighing over a ton is not unheard of.

Additionally, due to their size, aggression, and distribution, saltwater crocodiles are regarded as the most dangerous extant crocodilian to humans.

The saltwater crocodile (Crocodylus porosus), also known as the estuarine crocodile, Indo-Pacific crocodile, marine crocodile, sea crocodile, or informally as saltie, is the largest of all living reptiles (and naturally all living crocodiles), as well as the largest riparian predator in the world.

Males of this species can reach sizes up to 6.17 meters (20 feet 3 in).

But males reaching or exceeding 6 meters (19.7 feet) are really rare.

Females are much smaller and often do not surpass 3 meters (9.8 feet).

Due to their size, aggression, and distribution, saltwater crocodiles are regarded as the most dangerous extant crocodilian to humans.

List of the largest crocodiles ever recorded

Crocodiles are really large reptiles and can get enormous sizes both in the wild and in captivity.

So, how big are the largest crocodiles actually?

Or other techniques like the forced perspective (a technique that employs optical illusion to make an object appear far larger than it really is) are commonly used in these photos.

Here are the top 10 largest crocodiles ever recorded, for real (no BS list).

Tawi-Tawi crocodile (5.15 meters / 16 feet 11 in)

Largest crocodiles ever recorded: Tawi-Tawi crocodile (5.15 meters / 16 feet 11 in)

On September 9, 2017, a 5.15 meters (16 feet 11 in) saltwater crocodile was captured by fishermen in Tawi-Tawi, an island province in the Philippines.

According to the local resources, a local fisherman first spotted the crocodile on Tuesday, but initially, they thought it was a wooden log.

Then he reported the incident to the officials, and an operation has been conducted to catch the crocodile.

A lot of fishermen and officials were involved in the operation since the giant crocodile was very aggressive.

Ruben Balcorza of the Municipal Disaster Risk Reduction Management Office of Simunul, Tawi-Tawi said that the crocodile is now under the care of the municipal government.

Killing a crocodile is a crime in the Philippines that has a fine amounting to P100,000 pesos (around $2000) and imprisonment of up to six years.

9. Matara crocodile and Jaws III (5.18+ meters / 17+ feet)

Matara crocodile

A huge saltwater crocodile, over 17 feet long, was captured in Matara, Sri Lanka on November 7, 2016.

The giant reptile was released back into the river by wildlife officials, with the help of local people (Thanks for the comment, Dalya).

Largest crocodiles ever recorded: Matara crocodile

Related: 20 amazing crocodile facts

Jaws III was a huge saltwater crocodile living in the Madras Crocodile Bank Trust and Centre for Herpetology, a reptile zoo and herpetology research station, located 40 km (29 mi) south of the city of Chennai, in the state of Tamil Nadu, India.

The huge crocodile arrived at Madras Crocodile Bank Trust shortly after it opened in 1976 and for the first few years was housed with his brothers and sisters in what was then a fairly ordinary exhibit.

However, when he started to outgrow his siblings in a truly astonishing fashion, it soon became apparent that he was no ordinary crocodile, but instead a genuine giant of freakish proportions.

Jaws III was at least 17 feet (5.2 meters) long and weighed over a ton.

It was believed to be the biggest crocodile in captivity in southern Asia. can’t be loaded because JavaScript is disabled: Madras Crocodile Bank – JAWS – III (

Largest crocodiles ever recorded: Jaws III

Jaws III has died in January 2020 (thanks for the comment, Vishwamitra).

Gangadurai, chief reptile keeper at the Madras Crocodile Bank Trust, said:

“I fed Jaws for 40 years.

8. Puento Noire Crocodile (5.40 meters / 17.71 feet)

Largest crocodiles ever recorded: The Puento Noire Crocodile

This unnamed monster crocodile had been at the center of a number of hoaxes.

The fact is, this aggressive Nile specimen was killed in a safety operation near Puento Noire, Republic of Congo.

Estimated size: 5.4 meters – 17 feet 8 in.

7. Gomek (5.42 meters / 17.8 feet)

Marcus Miller with Gomek the crocodile, one of the largest crocodiles ever in captivity.

Gomek was a large saltwater crocodile captured by George Craig in Papua New Guinea.

He was purchased by Terri and Arthur Jones in 1985 and was kept in Ocala, Florida for five years before being sold to the St. Augustine Alligator Farm Zoological Park in Florida.

Feeders of the large croc were allowed to go into the enclosure and get as close as 1 meter (3 feet) from the large animal (normally suicidal proximity) without any fear of attack (for another example of a croc with great tolerance of people, see the story of Chito and Pocho).

While feeders still used long tongs to feed Gomek, he was generally considered to be a “tame” crocodile and was the favorite of the Alligator farm and people around the nation.

After many years, Gomek, one of the largest crocodiles in the world, died of heart disease on March 6, 1997.

By then, he was a very old crocodile, and one of the largest and tamest captive crocodiles in existence.

When he died, he was 5.42 meters (17.8 feet) long, weighed 860 kg (1896 pounds) – as confirmed by St. Augustine Alligator Farm – and was probably between 60 and 80 years old.

I received a message from Marcus Miller, who worked with Gomek in the past.

“I saw your article on the 10 largest crocodiles ever.

6. Cassius (5.48 meters / 17 feet 11 in)

Cassius, the largest crocodile in captivity

This Australian saltwater giant has been claimed as the largest crocodile held in captivity and was recognized by the Guinness World Records as the world’s largest crocodile in captivity in 2011.

He lives in Marineland Melanesia on Green Island in Australia.

The crocodile was captured in 1987 in the Finis River in the Northern Territory after attacking boats and causing a nuisance.

Cassius is 5.48 meters (17 feet 11 in) long and is believed to be around 110 years old. can’t be loaded because JavaScript is disabled: Cassius: World’s Largest Crocodile in Captivity, Green Island, Australia (

Far North Queensland has the World’s Largest Crocodile in Captivity!

Guinness World Records has today confirmed Cassius to be the biggest!

Cassius is 5.48 meters long and is living at Marineland Melanesia, Green Island, Far North Queensland.

In the video above, you see George Craig, the capturer, and caretaker of Cassius.

He also captured Gomek, one of the largest crocodiles ever measured.

The Australian is dubbed the “Real life Crocodile Dundee”.

For years, he captured dangerous large crocodiles like Cassius and Gomek and relocated them to a safe enclosure – which is good for both the crocodiles and the humans.

After the capture of Cassius, Mr. Craig spent 30 years with the giant reptile and fed him every day.

6. Brutus (5.60 meters / 18 feet 4 in)

One of the largest crocodiles ever recorded, the three-limbed Brutus the giant crocodile is a tourist attraction on the Adelaide River in Australia.

This massive saltwater crocodile named “Brutus” has only three limbs!

It is known to frequent the Adelaide River, Northern Territory, Australia.

Brutus is conservatively estimated at 5.6 meters (18 feet 4 in) in length and about a ton in weight.

5. Yai (5.61 meters / 18 feet 5 in)

Largest crocodiles ever recorded: Yai, the hybrid Siamestuary crocodile

It is at the Samut Prakan Crocodile Farm and Zoo in Thailand.

The length of Yai is between 5.5 and 6 m long (different sources give different lengths, I chose to take the minimum).

Yai, like Gomek, has a great tolerance for people.

In 2012, Yai was measured at 18 feet and 5 inches in length (5.61 meters).

3. Bujang Senang (5.88 meters / 19 feet 3 inches)

One of the largest crocodiles ever recorded, Bujang Senang was killed on May 20, 1992.

He was 19 feet 3 inches long (5.88 meters).

Bujang Senang was a massive saltwater crocodile and it was living in Borneo.

According to local sources, he was a man-eater (some people even claimed that he had been around and attacking and killing for at least thirty years).

At first, he was estimated at 25 feet (7.62 meters).

He was 19 feet 3 inches long (5.88 meters) and reportedly weighed over a ton.

2. Dominator (6.1 meters / 20 feet)

Largest crocodiles ever recorded: Dominator, the saltwater giant

Dominator has never been officially measured but it is estimated that he measures up to 20 feet (6.1 meters) and weighs over a ton.

He shares the same territory with another saltwater giant Brutus (Adelaide River, Northern Territory, Australia).

1. Lolong (6.17 meters / 20 feet 3 in) – the largest crocodile ever measured

At 6.17 meters (20 feet 3 in), Lolong was the largest crocodile ever measured from snout to tail.

Measured at 20 feet 3 inches (6.17 meters), and weighing 2,370 lbs (1,075 kg), Lolong was the largest crocodile in captivity.

He was also the biggest crocodile ever measured from snout to tail.

Lolong was an Indo-Pacific or saltwater crocodile (Crocodylus porosus).

Australian crocodile expert Dr. Adam Britton (see notes 1) sedated and measured Lolong in his enclosure in November 2011, and confirmed him as the world’s longest crocodile ever caught and placed in captivity.

He was captured with the joint cooperation of the local government unit, residents, and crocodile hunters of Palawan.

The capture of Lolong

The giant crocodile was hunted over a period of three weeks; once it was found, it took around 100 people to bring him onto land.

He was estimated to be at least 50 years old.

Lolong was suspected of eating a fisherman who went missing in the town of Bunawan, and also of consuming a 12-year-old girl whose head was discovered two years earlier.

In the examination of the stomach contents after his capture, remnants of water buffaloes reported missing before Lolong’s capture were found, but no human remains.

He died of a heart attack several days before the crocodile was captured.

Despite his initial aggressiveness, Lolong was remarkably gentle in his enclosure.

Dr. Britton writes “This shouldn’t come as a surprise to anyone familiar with the effects of capturing large crocodiles from the wild.

It’s a phenomenon called “capture myopathy”; the shock of being caught, poked and prodded, and introduced to a completely new and alien environment is a stressful experience, particularly for an animal as large as Lolong who has been master of his domain for decades.

It might seem unusual to think of crocodiles as being susceptible to stress, but they’re just like any other vertebrate in that respect and something that anyone who maintains captive crocodiles should be aware of.”

The nongovernmental organization activist Animal Kingdom Foundation Inc., with the cooperation of People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, had urged the local government of Bunawan to return Lolong to the creek of barangay Nueva Era, where the giant reptile was captured.

Lolong died in captivity just 18 months later he was captured, at around 8 pm on 10 February 2013.

Here is a video that was shot when Lolong was alive: can’t be loaded because JavaScript is disabled: Lolong (

Lolong was an Indo-Pacific or Saltwater crocodile (Crocodylus porosus) measured at 20 feet 3 inches (6.17 meters).

He was the largest crocodile ever in captivity.

According to Dr. Adam Britton, Lolong’s enclosure might not look pretty, but, in fact, crocodiles in the wild call muddy holes “home”, they just look for any kind of shelter and the basic necessities for survival.

Crocodiles do not eat if they’re too stressed, but in Lolong’s case, he was eating and seemed to settle down into his new surroundings and was behaving normally.

You might say they adored him.” He adds: “…there were also financial incentives to keep Lolong alive; he was popular, brought much money into the community, and generated a lot of national and international attention.”

So, despite his living environment looking terrible to an unfamiliar eye, he was well cared for.

Britton concludes: “It would have been ideal to leave Lolong in the wild, but does such specious thinking have a place in our overcrowded world?

Yet at the same time, we can’t simply remove all wild animals simply because it makes us feel better, or safer.

There has to be a compromise, and unfortunately for Lolong, he was that compromise at that particular time and place.

I recommend you to read Dr. Britton’s great article titled “What really killed Lolong?” on his blog.

Officially the biggest crocodile ever measured

Lolong was officially certified by the Guinness Book of World Records as the “world’s biggest crocodile in captivity” at 20.25 feet (6.17 meters).

But, there are also a lot of unverified claims that there are even larger crocodiles than Lolong in the wild.

The size of Lolong, the largest crocodile ever measured from snout to tail, put things into perspective.

World’s largest crocodile candidates

Here are the unconfirmed candidates for the world’s largest crocodile title:

Puerto Rico crocodile (6.2 meters / 20 feet 4 in, up to 6.3 meters / 20 feet 8 in)

After Lolong, the best-documented evidence of a record-sized crocodile comes from Obo village on the Fly River in Papua New Guinea (Montague 1983).

The crocodile’s skin had already been removed and salted when Jerome Montague and one of the authors (RW) visited the village, but the skin plus the decapitated head measured 6.2 meters (20.3 feet).

The authors considered this likely an underestimate considering possible shrinkage of the skin plus an incomplete tail tip, suggesting a TL closer to 6.3 meters.

The DCL of this crocodile was 720 mm (28.3 in), which at 6.2 meters TL would indicate a DCL:TL (dorsal cranial length vs total length) ratio of 1:8.6, or 1:8.8 considering the likely 6.3 meters TL.

While not a complete or living specimen, this is still considered the largest saltwater crocodile (C.

Cambodia Crocodile (7 meters / 23 feet, probably)

As you can see below (see the “life-size replica” of Krys crocodile), Adam Britton mentions a 7-meter saltwater crocodile.

As far as I know, Lolong is the largest crocodile ever measured and Mr. Britton himself measured it.

There’s a saltwater croc skull in the Paris Museum, originally from Cambodia, that’s 76 cm long.

Its original owner was estimated to be 7 meters (23 feet) long, a HL:TL ratio of 1:9.2 which sounds about right.”

A crocodile bigger than Lolong?

The largest known saltwater crocodile (C.

porosus) skull is housed at the Paris Museum (MNHN PMP specimen #A11803 = old museum collection #7738) originally from Cambodia.

It has a DCL (dorsal cranial length) of 760 mm (29.9 in), making it 8.6% longer than Lolong’s skull.

If we apply a DCL:TL (dorsal cranial length vs total length) ratio of 1:9 for this skull, TL is estimated at 6.84 meters (22.4 feet) which is 11.3% longer than Lolong’s TL (total length).

Although the actual TL was never preserved, these figures strongly suggest a nearly 7 meters (23 feet) crocodile.

We can compare this with another slightly smaller skull (currently in the private collection of Shivendra Narayan Bhanja Deo, the Yuvaraj of Kanika in Bhubaneshwar, Orissa) of DCL 730 mm (28.7 in), originally from the Indian Bhitarkanika province, reported having come from a 7 meters (23 feet) C.

Applying the 1:9 ratio to the Bhitarkanika skull gives an estimated TL of 6.6 meters (21.7 feet).

The truth is unlikely to be far from these figures and there is a strong sense that 7 meters (23 feet) is likely the maximum possible length for C.

Kalia (Bhitarkanika Park crocodile) (claimed size: 7.01 meters / 23 feet)

It seems the Guinness World Record book has accepted a claim that a 23 feet (7.01 meters) giant male saltwater (named Kalia) crocodile weighing 2,000 kg lives within Bhitarkanika Park in the state of Orissa, India, but because of the difficulty to capture such a large monster, the accuracy of the measurement is yet to be verified.

I am skeptical about this claim, while it is much larger than any other accurately reported measurement.

Adam Britton wrote: “There are several unverified reports of even larger wild crocodiles, the most popular being a 7 meters plus (over 23 feet) C.

However, this was not a measurement but a size estimate taken from a boat and regardless of the skill of the observers it cannot be compared to a verified tape measurement, especially considering the uncertainty inherent in visual size estimation in the wild (Bayliss 1987).”

“Another famous giant crocodile shot on the Norman River in Australia in 1957 was reported by the shooters to be over 8 meters (approx.

26 feet).

While it seems likely that an exceptionally large crocodile was shot, no actual evidence was ever taken.

For a crocodile whose length exceeds that of any other record by a large margin, a high degree of skepticism is understandable when bearing in mind the track record of inaccurate or exaggerated size records (Greer 1974; Whitaker and Whitaker 2008).”

1823 Philippines crocodile (27 feet?/8.23 meters?)

According to biology professor Alvin Silverstein’s 1980 book Nature’s Champions, in 1883, a giant saltwater crocodile bigger than Lolong was killed in the Philippines.

It measured 27 feet (8.23 meters) from the tips of its snout to the end of its tail.

The only known photo of the Krys Crocodile.

Note that the forced perspective was used in the photo, a technique that employs optical illusion to make an object appear larger than it actually is.

According to a story, a giant crocodile was shot in July 1958 near Normanton, Queensland, Australia.

It was claimed at 28 feet 4 inches (8.64 meters).

There is also a life-size replica of it at Normanton.

Zoologist Adam Britton, one of the biggest experts in the area, and who measured Lolong, the biggest crocodile in captivity, says: “I’ve never counted “Krys” because it’s just a story – there’s no evidence at all to back it up, and it just seems so far outside the maximum possible range for this species that I’d need some pretty solid evidence to believe it.

The minimum acceptable criteria for record-breaking crocs should include a tape measure along their back because “big fish” stories outnumber accurate estimates by several orders of magnitude.”

A lifesize replica of Krys “The Savannah King” at Normanton, Queensland, Australia.

The claimed size of Krys is highly suspicious because it is much larger than any other accurately reported measurements.

The claimed size of Krys is highly suspicious because it is much larger than any other accurately reported measurements.

Zoologist and crocodile expert Adam Britton measured the replica’s head in June 2017 and found that its head-body ratio is not appropriate.

Krys the Crocodile statue in Normanton, is purportedly a life-size representation of a 28 feet (8.6 meters) saltwater croc that Krys Pawlowski shot on the Norman River.

If true, it makes Lolong look like a yearling.”

“Apparently, photos were taken but lost in floods 40 years ago.

I couldn’t resist measuring the head length on the model, was 152 cm.

The largest saltwater crocodile skull on record is 76 cm from a 23 feet (7 meters) animal.”

(a 152 cm skull would belong to a roughly 14 m long crocodile based on a similar HL:TL (head length vs total length) ratio, probably a bit less than that in reality as the ratio would be higher) It was also estimated to weigh 2 tonnes, but in reality, a crocodile of that size would be at least double that.

Gustave (Estimated size ~6 meters / 19.68 feet)

Largest crocodiles ever recorded: A photograph of Gustave, the largest Nile crocodile by Martin Best for National Geographic

Probably not the biggest ever recorded, but this large man-eater crocodile named “Gustave” is definitely the most feared beast ever.

It is a large male Nile crocodile from Burundi, and is rumored to have killed as many as 300 humans from the banks of the Ruzizi River and the northern shores of Lake Tanganyika!

Gustave was named by Patrice Faye, a herpetologist who has been studying and investigating him since the late 1990s; much of what is known about Gustave stems from the film Capturing the Killer Croc, which aired in 2004 on PBS.

The film documents a capture attempt and study of Gustave.

Gustave is the biggest Nile crocodile ever recorded

Since Gustave has not been captured, his exact length and weight are unknown.

In 2002 it was stated that he could be “easily more than 20 feet (6 meters) long”, and weigh more than a ton.

If true, this makes Gustave the largest freshwater crocodile and also the biggest Nile crocodile in the world.

But, please note that the estimated size of Gustave is way higher than the average size of a Nile crocodile (which is 4.2 meters).

So, take these size estimations with a pinch of salt.

That’s why I removed Gustave from the original top ten largest crocodiles list.

Some estimates have put Gustave at 7.5 meters (25 feet) or more in length (which is very unlikely).

Gustave is also known for the three bullet scars on his body.

The last reported sighting of Gustave was in 2009 in the Ruzizi River near Lake Tanganyika.

Some sources claim that it was killed in 2019, but there is no photographic evidence.

Current status: unknown, probably alive.

Utan (Close to 5 meters)

Previously, Utan was on my top ten largest crocodiles list, but I removed it.

Adam Britton wrote on his blog:

“There’s no doubt that Yai is larger than Cassius, but I’m interested in the largest saltwater crocodile in the world and consider Yai to be a bit of a cheat due to hybrid vigor.

Utan is also a hybrid from the same crocodile farm, although I’ve been told by more than one person “in the know” that he’s not as large as advertised (not even Cassius-large).”

Largest crocodiles ever recorded: Utan currently lives in Alligator Adventure, one of the World’s biggest reptilian facilities.

Like Yai, Utan is also a hybrid breed between saltwater and Siamese crocodile.

He was born in 1964 Utan is found at Samut Prakan crocodile farm, which is about twelve miles outside of Bangkok, Thailand.

He currently lives in Alligator Adventure, a reptilian facility located adjacent to Barefoot Landing in North Myrtle Beach, one of South Carolina’s most outstanding tourist attractions.

Although Utan’s bite force has never been tested, it is said to be estimated at about 5000 lbs.

Sweetheart (5.1 meters / 16 feet 8 in)

Largest crocodiles ever recorded: Sweetheart at the Museum and Art Gallery of the Northern Territory.

Sweetheart was a huge saltwater crocodile responsible for a series of attacks on boats in Australia between 1974 and 1979.

A 2007 Australian independent horror film named Rogue, about a group of tourists in Australia who fall prey to a giant, man-eating crocodile, was inspired by the story of Sweetheart.

King Croc of Dubai Aquarium & Underwater Zoo (5+ meters)

There’s a huge saltwater crocodile weighing in at a whopping 750 kg and measuring over 5 meters in length in the Dubai Aquarium & Underwater Zoo. Originally spotted measuring only 2.4 meters in length and dubbed a “problem” crocodile by the locals, the soon-to-be King Croc was quickly moved from the Botanic Gardens that he had taken over, to a more protected environment located in Queensland, Australia.

In 2014, it has arrived at Dubai Aquarium & Underwater Zoo. Today, it is 40 years old.

Already one of the largest living crocodiles in the world, the “King Croc” is expected to grow much bigger over the next 50 years. can’t be loaded because JavaScript is disabled: The KING CROC has arrived at Dubai Aquarium & Underwater Zoo (

The King Croc has arrived at Dubai Aquarium Underwater Zoo in 2014

Smaug (5 meters / 16 feet 5 in)

Largest crocodiles ever recorded: Smaug the crocodile (photo by Adam Britton)

Living in Darwin, Australia, Smaug is a 5-meter long (16.3 feet) Australian Saltwater Crocodile.

Smaug is 60 years old and about 500 kg (1,100 lbs) in weight.

Panjang (5 meters / 16 feet 5 in)

(Thanks to Hieu Nguyen) Panjang is a 5-meter-long saltwater crocodile living in the Singapore Zoo. He weighs anywhere from 500 to 600 kilograms.

The largest prehistoric crocodile?

In the prehistoric ages, some animals were much bigger than today’s counterparts – including crocodilians.

Click to see what was the largest prehistoric crocodile.

Related: Largest prehistoric crocodiles

The largest alligator?

Click to see what is the largest alligator ever measured, and the differences between crocodiles and alligators.

Dr. Adam Britton works primarily in the field of crocodile conservation management, biology, and behavior.

As of December 2017, he is working on a number of projects in conjunction with Charles Darwin University’s RIEL (Research Institute for the Environment and Livelihoods), including assessing the feasibility of wild crocodile egg harvests in Queensland, studying migratory behavior, and phylogeography of populations.

II courses in Remote Crocodile Management through CDU.

He also has a blog about crocodiles:

Gomek on Wikipedia

Cassius the crocodile on Wikipedia

Gustave (crocodile) on Wikipedia

Lolong on Wikipedia

Sweetheart on Wikipedia

What really killed Lolong?

“Here be a dragon: exceptional size in a saltwater crocodile (Crocodylus porosus) from the Philippines” by Adam Britton and Nikhil Whitaker, on Research Gate

Madras Crocodile Bank Trust on Wikipedia

Madras Crocodile Bank Trust official website

“Croc on: 42 years later, Madras Crocodile Bank is an ocean of cool reptiles” on The News Minute website

“Remembering Jaws, India’s largest crocodile in captivity” on The Hindu website

In the prehistoric ages, some animals were much bigger than today’s counterparts – including crocodiles.

Crocodiles have long been some of the most feared and respected creatures on the planet, and their prehistoric ancestors were no different.

Some of the largest and most terrifying crocodiles to ever exist walked the Earth millions of years ago, making even the largest modern crocodile look like a mere lizard by comparison.

From the massive Deinosuchus to the impressive Sarcosuchus imperator, this article will explore eight of the largest and most impressive prehistoric crocodiles ever discovered, giving readers a glimpse into a long-lost world of giant reptiles and ferocious predators.

List of Largest prehistoric crocodiles ever lived

Before reading the largest prehistoric crocodile list below, keep in mind that the list given below can change at any time with any newly found fossil.

Due to the absence of a complete enough skeleton in most cases, the numbers given are mostly estimates.

A common method to estimate the size of crocodiles and crocodile-like reptiles is the use of the length of the skull measured in the midline from the tip of the snout to the back of the skull table since in living crocodilians there is a strong correlation between skull length and total body length in subadult and adult individuals.

Related: Top 10 Largest Crocodiles ever recorded

8. Sarcosuchus imperator (Up to 9.5 meters [31 feet])

Sarcosuchus was one of the largest crocodiles that ever lived on Earth.

imperator specimen was 9.5 meters (31 feet) in length.

They lived in the Early Cretaceous in the Sahara Desert some 110 million years ago before camels and Tusken Raiders became the dominant species.

Its name means “Flesh Crocodile Emperor”.

S. imperator probably had a generalized diet similar to that of the Nile crocodile.

A diet that would have included large terrestrial prey such as the abundant dinosaurs that lived in the same region.

Sarcosuchus, popularly known as the “super croc” is an extinct genus of crocodyliform and a distant relative of the crocodile that lived 112 million years ago.

Most sources on the web claim that the Sarcosuchus imperator was the biggest prehistoric crocodile that ever lived, but recent findings suggest that it was not the case.

Recent estimates suggest that the largest S.

Recent estimates suggest that the largest S.

imperator specimen was 9.5 meters (31 feet) in length and had a body weight of about 4.3 metric tons (4.7 short tons).

Still huge compared to today’s crocodiles, but not the largest prehistoric crocodile anymore.

Fish are easy prey for small crocodiles but as they grew larger they would need more sustenance to survive and so they may have begun to incorporate dinosaurs into their diets as well.‭ ‬As seen in crocodiles today,‭ ‬Sarcosuchus may have also left the water to scavenge the kills of the larger dinosaurs as well.

Although it’s unlikely that Sarcosuchus deliberately hunted dinosaurs for lunch, there’s no reason it had to tolerate other predators that competed with it for limited resources.

A full-grown SuperCroc would have been more than capable of breaking the neck of a large theropod, such as, say, the contemporary, fish-eating Spinosaurus, the biggest meat-eating dinosaur that ever lived.

Sarcosuchus imperator compared to a 1.8-meter-tall person

Euthecodon brumpti and Gryposuchus croizati (~10 meters / ~33 feet)

Euthecodon brumpti was a large slender-snouted fish-eating crocodile, that was common in the lakes and rivers of Lake Turkana (Kenya) between 1 and 8 million years ago, during the Neogene.

A particularly large specimen of this crocodile found at Lothagam on the west side of Lake Turkana dated to some 4 million years, was estimated to (as explained above) have been almost 10 meters (~33 feet) in length.

It was also a slender-snouted crocodile-like Euthecodon.

croizati, grew to an estimated length of 10 meters (33 feet).

Largest prehistoric crocodiles: A rough estimate of Gryposuchus compared with a 1.8-meter tall person.

Related: Climate change created today’s large crocodiles

Related: Climate change created today’s large crocodiles

5. Purussaurus (10.9 meters / 36 feet)

Largest prehistoric crocodiles: Restoration of Purussaurus brasiliensis.

Image by Nobu Tamura ( – Own work, CC BY 3.0, Link

Purussaurus was actually a caiman (see notes 1).

It lived in South America during the Miocene epoch, 8 million years ago.

It is known from skull material found in the Brazilian, Colombian, and Peruvian Amazonia, and northern Venezuela.

Purussaurus is one of the largest known crocodyliforms ever to have existed.

‬Its body length is estimated at up to 10.9 meters (about 36 feet).

But, as only its skulls have been found, its actual length is not certain.

It was previously estimated at 12.5 meters (41 feet) but most scientists and experts are skeptical about these proportions.

The large size and estimated strength of this animal appear to have allowed it to include a wide range of prey in its diet, making it an apex predator in its ecosystem.

Largest prehistoric crocodiles: A rough estimate of Purussaurus compared with a 1.8-meter-tall person.

4. Rhamphosuchus (up to 11 meters / 36 feet)

A recent study suggests Rhamphosuchus may have been 8-11 meters (26-36 feet) in length

Previously, it was believed that the Rhamphosuchus was the largest prehistoric crocodile ever, but not anymore: for many years scientists believed that it was one of the largest, if not the largest crocodylian that ever lived, reaching an estimated length of 15 to 18 meters (49 to 59 feet) and 20 tons in weight.

However, a more recent study suggests that the animal may have been 8-11 meters (26-36 feet) in length, and therefore is not the largest known crocodylian.

It is only known from incomplete sets of fossils, mostly teeth, and skulls.

Largest prehistoric crocodiles: A rough estimate of Rhamphosuchus compared with a 1.8-meter-tall person.

3. Mourasuchus (up to 12 meters / 39 feet 4 in)

One of the largest prehistoric crocodiles, Mourasuchus is an extinct genus of giant crocodilians from the Miocene of South America.

With an estimated length of up to twelve meters long,‭ ‬Mourasuchus was one of the biggest crocodiles of all time.

‭‬However, despite this gigantic size, it had a relatively weak jaw and skull construction combined with quite small teeth for its size: the skull has been described as duck-like, broad, flat, and very elongated.

‬These two things do not portray an apex predator that wrestled large prey into the water.

It presumably obtained its food by filter-feeding; the jaws were too gracile for the animal to have captured larger prey.

Fossils have been found in the Fitzcarrald Arch of Peru, where it coexisted with many other crocodilians, including the giant gharial, Gryposuchus, and the alligatorid Purussaurus.

The great diversity of crocodylomorphs in this Miocene-age (Tortonian stage, 8 million years ago).

Largest prehistoric crocodiles: The upper estimate of Mourasuchus compared with a 1.8-meter-tall person.

2. Deinosuchus (up to 12 meters / 39 feet 4 in)

Photo: Wikipedia

Deinosuchus is an extinct genus related to the alligator that lived 80 to 73 million years ago (Ma), during the late Cretaceous period.

The first remains were discovered in North Carolina (United States) in the 1850s; the genus was named and described in 1909.

Deinosuchus was far larger than any modern crocodile or alligator, with the largest adults may have been up to 12 meters (39 feet) in length and perhaps weighing as much as 8.5 metric tons (9.4 short tons).

Deinosuchus’ overall appearance was fairly similar to its smaller relatives (today’s alligators).

The upper estimate of Deinosuchus compared with a 1.8-meter-tall person.

For comparison, today’s largest and strongest crocodile, the saltwater crocodile has a bite force of about 16,000 N.

Deinosuchus was almost the same length as Mourasuchus, but was heavier, and had much more bite force.

Deinosuchus was an apex predator and probably capable of killing and eating large dinosaurs.

Deinosuchus was an apex predator and probably capable of killing and eating large dinosaurs.

Image: Deinosuchus attacks a T-rex on Deposit Photos

Deinosuchus was far larger than any modern crocodile or alligator, with the largest adults measuring up to 12 meters (39 feet) in total length, its overall appearance was fairly similar to its smaller relatives (today’s alligators).

Related: Why Crocodiles today look the same as they did 200 million years ago?

1. Aegisuchus (up to 15 meters/49 feet).

The largest crocodile ever lived on Earth

Aegisuchus lived during the Late Cretaceous (100.5-66 million years ago).

It is only known from a partial braincase, but even that part gives hints about its enormous size: its braincase is much larger in volume than that of any other crocodyliform (about 40 cm3 or 2.44 cubic inches).

Based on this volume, we can compare the ratio of braincase to skull length in other crocodilians: the total skull length of Aegisuchus is estimated to have been 2.08 to 2.86 meters (6.8 to 9.4 feet) in length.

If it had a long long snout like modern-day gharials, its total body length (from snout to tail) should be 15 to 21 meters (49 to 69 feet).

If it had a short snout like today’s crocodiles its length should be a whopping 16 to 22 meters (52 to 72 feet)!

But, most scientists think that these calculations gave an (almost) impossible length for this prehistoric crocodilian.

They think Aegisuchus was 15 meters (49 feet) in length at most.

Still, this makes Aegisuchus the largest crocodile ever lived on Earth.

Life restoration of Aegisuchus witmeri, a giant, flat-headed, ornamented crocodyliform from the Late Cretaceous of northern Africa.

Aegisuchus was the largest crocodile that ever lived on Earth.

The size of Aegisuchus (the largest crocodile ever lived) compared with a 1.8-meter-tall person.

Related: Machimosaurus rex: a giant prehistoric crocodile discovered in the Sahara

A Caiman is an alligatorid crocodilian belonging to the subfamily Caimaninae, one of two primary lineages within Alligatoridae, the other being alligators.

Sarcosuchus on Wikipedia

Euthecodon on Wikipedia

Gryposuchus on Wikipedia

Purussaurus on Wikipedia

Caiman on Wikipedia

Deinosuchus on Wikipedia

Rhamphosuchus on Wikipedia

Mourasuchus on Wikipedia

Aegisuchus on Wikipedia

I write about the planet Earth and science on this website,

I write about the planet Earth and science on this website,

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