The Okavango Crocodiles Portfolio

Browse a collection of underwater footage exploring the 100m meter deep papyrus caves of Botswana's Okavango delta where the giant Nile crocodile drag their prey.


The Okavango Crocodiles Portfolio


About the Species

The Nile Crocodile, the largest crocodilian on the African continent, is an apex predator not to be underestimated. They are incredibly adaptable and, thus, can thrive in numerous environments, from the North Nile valley of Egpyt to the South in the sub-Saharan rivers of Angola. They are infamous for their life-crushing, forceful bite, aggressive surprise attacks, and predatory attendance in the annual wildebeest migration. What's more, Nile crocs deliberately prey on humans and are christened as one of the most dangerous and vicious reptiles to roam the planet. 


Physical Traits
  • The Nile crocodile is physiologically built for agility to execute its brutal ambushes with ease. With adaptations such as their chart-topping jaw strength and 66 conic and razor-sharp teeth, their bite alone is enough to ensure a triumphant strike.
  • Equivalent to other crocodilian species, their most unmistakable physical structures include their short, widened legs, muscle-dense tails, extended jaws, and roughly scaled hide.
Reproduction and Lifespan
  • In line with other reptilians, Nile crocs reproduce by laying eggs. Once females mate, they incubate for two months and lay around 60 eggs, guarding them until they hatch about 90 days later. As one would expect, coming in between a female and her eggs or newly hatched young is a fatal quest. 
  • Rather than the process being strictly chromosomal (like humans), crocodile sex is determined by the temperature of their surroundings. They have a 'sweet spot' temperature of 31 degrees Celsius, where populations are balanced. If any lower, most eggs will hatch female. If temperatures are higher, most eggs will hatch as males. 
  • Nile crocodiles mature around 10-15 years old and live an average lifespan of about 50-70 years. However, the oldest documented Nile crocodile broke the record with an 80-year lifespan.


  • Although most of their communicative behaviours are those of extreme aggression, Nile crocodiles are relatively tolerant of their own kind as long as their complex and male-dominated social structures are respected and strictly adhered to. 
  • Within their basks or floats (crocodile groups), the Nile crocs are often observed harmoniously co-existing, co-hunting, and sharing large carcasses and prey bounties.


Predators and Prey
  • Nile crocodiles are apex predators, meaning they reside at the top of the food chain and have little to no natural predators. In fact, human impact is likely their biggest threat.
  • Regarding their diet, crocodiles are considered generalists. This means they can and will consume just about any mammal, bird, reptile, fish, or human in a feasible vicinity.


Threats and Climate Change
  • Other apex predators, such as sharks and dolphins, are in a dire state due to overexploitation or anthropogenic impacts on the ocean. However, Nile crocs inhabit areas less touched by humans, so they grapple with fewer anthropogenic threats.
  • Regarding climate change, croc habitats are predicted to become less suitable owing to sea level rise, saltwater intrusion, and warmer temperatures. This chiefly applies to those lodging in freshwater swamps, wetlands, and floodplains. 
Conservation Status
  • The IUCN gauged the Nile Crocodile populations on the list of least concern, as they are generally abundant and contain a minimal list of predators. However, due to their fatal attacks on humans, humans hunt them and potentially provoke unforeseen consequences for the collective ecosystem. 
Current Research
  • One prevailing procedure in Nile Croc research is performing impact assessments, particularly concerning the crocodile farming industry. For instance, studies survey preliminary diseases (which seem to rise due to farming), crocodile skin quality (allegedly declining amidst high crocodile densities) and overall development (where growth is inhibited in certain farming conditions).

Charisma Factor

  • It is hardly surprising that Nile Crocodiles conjure up quakes of fright, sensations of reverence, and a sudden awareness of our own limitations. Their bodies reach up to seven metres in length and 750 kilograms in weight. Yet, regardless of their considerable mass, they are nimble, power efficient, and well-adept to sustain their reputation as apex predators and the most significant predator inhabiting the freshwaters of Africa. 
  • One of these vicious reptiles' most charismatic conducts is their turbulent ambushments. A typical setting usually consists of an animal quenching its thirst from a seemingly risk-free river or lake and quickly transforming into a scene of raging commotion as soon as the crocodile pounces into action from below.

Myths and Legends

  • Crocodiles are both feared and respected in prehistoric cultures, mythology, legends, and folklore across the globe. Crocs most customarily serve as symbols of wisdom, stealth, and strength. 
  • Ancient Egyptians worshipped gods known as dieties. One particular diety is named Sobek, the lord of crocodiles. Sobek is engraved on ancient tombs and was highly revered as responsible for establishing the Nile River. Sobek also brought the gift of fertility and released chaos if not properly acknowledged. 
  • Bazoul in Burkina Faso is a traditional village with a peculiar regard for Crocodiles. A local legend dates back to the 15th century when crocs saved the people by leading their women to a secret river during a near-lethal drought. This initiated the bizarre relationship they have with their resident crocs. The villagers comfortably feed, swim with, ride atop, and co-exist with these vicious reptiles, kindling a relationship against the odds.

Browse the 'Crocodiles' Portfolio

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