Anacondas and crocodiles are two and the largest and most fearsome reptiles in the animal kingdom. Both can take down large prey - including humans - by employing some impressive offensive capabilities.
The chances of an anaconda and a saltwater croc encountering one another are slim as they live in entirely different areas of the world. Still, we can hypothesize which of these mighty predators would succeed in a fight by comparing some key characteristics.
Anaconda Vs. Crocodile Comparison
|Max Length||9 meters (30 feet)||6.1 meters (20 feet)|
|Max Weight||250kg (550 lbs)||900kg (2,000 lbs)|
|Speed||16 km/h in water 8 km/h on land||24 km/h in water 12-14 km/h on land|
|Teeth||Around 48 teeth ¼ inch long||66 teeth 4 inches long|
|Bite Power||90 PSI||3700 PSI|
|Habitat||Trinidad and South America (significant populations in Columbia’s Orinoco basin and Brazil’s Amazon rainforest)||Mangrove swamps and river deltas (India, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, Malaysia, Indonesia, Philippines, Singapore, Papua New Guinea, Australia, and Vanuatu).|
|Predatory Style||Ambush predator Holds and bites prey while coiling around their body to constrict||Ambush predator Waits in the water for prey to approach|
Anaconda Vs. Crocodile: Size, Weight, and Power
The Anaconda is one of the world's largest and most feared snakes. These semi-aquatic reptiles are found in the tropical regions of South America. These muscular bodies are thicker than most other boas and possess narrow but large heads. They can reach staggering lengths of up to nine meters and a body width of up to 30.5 cm. Still, their weight rarely exceeds 250kg, which is pretty "light" when you compare it to the mass of a saltwater croc.
Despite their reputation, many crocodile species possess a relatively mild temperament and are unlikely to attack humans. However, there is an exception to the rule; the saltwater crocodile, whose high volatility likely stems from strong territoriality. These fearsome predators are the largest living reptile in the animal kingdom.
When it comes to power, the Anaconda can bite with an impressive force of 90 PSI. To put that in perspective, their bite is strong enough to crush you or me to death. But it's nothing compared to a crocodile's massive 3,700 PSI bite force. Some animals have a higher estimated bite, but the crocodile has the world's largest recorded bite force.
The anaconda’s bite has nowhere near the force of a crocodile's mouth, but the stretchy ligaments of the snake's mouth mean it can open wide to swallow large prey (such as deer or wild pigs) whole.
Anaconda Vs. Crocodile: Speed and Movement
The term "anaconda" describes the genus Eunectes, a Greek name that means "good swimmer." And these fearsome reptiles are famous for their swimming abilities, loving to spend their time submerged in murky waters.
Saltwater crocodiles also possess strong swimming skills and can tolerate salinity. For these reasons, they are most commonly found near rivers or in coastal waters (though occasionally, they are found in deep waters, further from the shore).
Both are strong swimmers for their species, but the crocodiles can move quicker in water and on land than the Anaconda, which means the salty would have the advantage over seizing or escaping the snake.
Anaconda Vs. Crocodile: Senses
The eyes and nostrils of all anacondas are located at the tops of their heads, allowing them to see above the water while keeping their body submerged. Still, the same can be said for the saltwater crocodile who employs similar tactics to hide in plain sight and wait for a passing victim to ambush.
An anaconda's senses are similar to most of their species; pit organs help them detect prey via heat output, and they are sensitive to chemical changes and vibrations in their environment. Crocodiles possess similar senses and can detect changes in pressure and vibration. They also have great underwater vision and nocturnal eyesight.
But, the senses of the Anaconda are sharper, and they would likely be aware of the crocodile's presence first, giving them an advantage over this colossal beast.
Anaconda Vs. Crocodile: Offensive and Defensive Capabilities
Neither the Anaconda nor the crocodile is a particularly active hunter. Both prefer to ambush their prey and exert the least energy to secure a kill. Anacondas employ a coiling technique in which they lock their mouth onto a victim and then coil their muscle around the prey to squeeze the life from them. Once an anaconda secures a kill, they often take them into the water as the buoyancy helps to position them for swallowing whole.
Crocodiles also latch onto prey with their strong jaws, but instead of spinning around their victim, they spin the victim around. The saltwater croc employs the "death roll," in which they drag prey around in circles until their victim becomes disoriented or loses consciousness. They also use this roll if they catch a limb in their mouth to rip it from the victim's body.
Both animals have strong offensive skills, making them two of the most feared animals in the kingdom. But, if they were to fight, the salty would have a far better defense system. Their skin is composed of tough scales that act as a shield across their body. In comparison, the Anaconda has minimal defensive capabilities, and a crocodile's bite could easily cut straight through this snake.
Anaconda Vs. Crocodile: Who Wins?
Very few predators could take down the might of a saltwater crocodile, and the Anaconda is unlikely to be one of them. While anacondas can and do eat crocodiles such as caimans, the outcome of an attack on a salty would likely fare differently. The most significant factor is the sheer size of the saltwater. Assuming that both animals were average, healthy males, the Anaconda could not physically take down the mass of the salty, and its coiling technique would be fruitless.