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Crocodile Hunting

Crocodile hunting, like hippo hunting, is a challenging exercise. Seeing lots of crocodile basking motionless on river banks belies the fact that they are extremely sharp-eyed and will make a run for the water if they feel in the least bit threatened. The big old crocs are even more wary.


"The ears are your target for the brain shot - the only shot guaranteed to kill him instantly. A shot through the side of the neck lays him low, but unless it severs the spinal cord it will require more than one bullet to do him in. A bullet through the heart gives him plenty of time to dive to the bottom and get himself lost." Alexander Lake

Crocodile Trophy Minimums

Crocodilus nilotica (Nile Crocodile)
RW Minimum RW Record RW Measurement Method SCI Minimum SCI Record SCI Measurement Method
14' 17'87/8" 18 9' 7" 217" 8

Crocodile Facts

Habitat and Requirements

  • Crocodiles are territorial.
  • They live in and hunt from the water - lakes, rivers, freshwater swamps, brackish water and in deep pools. They require suitable nesting spots such as sandy banks and a sufficient food supply.
  • They like to bask in the sun on the waters edge. If the water evaporates they will migrate across country to another source of water, if necessary.

Social Structure

  • Crocodiles are gregarious animals forming groups of up to 100 animals, depending on the food supply.

Gestation Period

  • An egg layer and sex is determined by temperature inside the egg chamber.

Crocodile Gender Identification

  • It is quite difficult to tell the sex by sight, especially of young crocs. A mature male crocodile will have a broad head and a wide, v-shaped muzzle.
  • The muzzle of a female will be shorter and slimmer.
  • This is one of the few animals you can usually get away with if you shoot a female in a country that prohibits shooting females. Only an internal examination will definitively sex the animal.

Crocodile Hunting Methods

  • The most effective method by far is to use baits placed at the waters edge that are anchored to prevent them being dragged into the water.
  • Be prepared for a long wait before these extremely cautious animals come to feed.
  • It's very common for a small croc to come in first and take possession of the bait. So don't be too quick on the trigger as it usually won't take long for a bigger one to come in and chase the youngster away.
  • Crocs although wary in the extreme are not particularly bright animals and even if you wound one or scare him away, he'll often come back to the bait again within about 24 hours or so.

A Good Crocodile Trophy

  • The deciding factor is length but this isn't always easy to judge without a great deal of experience. The largest Nile crocodiles on record (but not in the Books) have been over 19 feet and 600kg.
  • It is not uncommon for crocs to lose the last segment of tail whilst fighting, so try to check it's not missing before you take your shot. Tanzania has a minimum overall length requirement of 2.4 metres between the pegs.

Crocodile Hunting Shot Placement

  • Shot placement has to be accurate in the extreme on these animals as get it even slightly wrong, he's back into the water before you can say knife.
  • Once he's made it into the water, you've either lost your animal or your PH and hunting team have to go into the water to try to fish him out for you.
  • Try to place your bullet into the brain which is about the size of a golf ball.
  • You'll find the brain midway between the eyes and ears ridges and about two inches lower.
  • If you can get into an elevated position, you can shoot the same place from above which is a slightly easier shot.
  • The only other option is a spine shot where the spine joins the skull. That's about halfway up the animal at the end of the crocodile's 'smile'.
  • If you can take your shot when the animals head is facing the bank rather than the river, you'll be increasing your chances dramatically.
  • Although you don't really need a particularly big calibre for this species, solids are to be recommended only because a soft will do a lot of damage to the trophy.

Nile Crocodile Pictures

(Place cursor over photographs to enlarge)


Recommended Reading

Crocodiles: Their Natural History, Folklore And Conservation

Crocodiles: Their Natural History, Folklore And Conservation by C A W Guggisberg is a comprehensive study of all types of crocodiles including alligators, caimans and garials, showing crocodile daily life, predation, mating and reproduction.


Crocodile Fever

Crocodile Fever by Lawrence Earl is a thrilling story of adventure. Bryan Dempster hunted monster crocodiles in the depths of Africa not for sport, but for a living, devising special techniques and taking mortal gambles to make a go of it. Dempster is one of those restless people who cannot stay long in civilization. Danger and the unneutral jungle, the cataracts and whirlpools of the Zambezi, hold him in perpetual bondage - even at the cost of health, wealth, and love. This is Dempster's story as told to Lawrence Earl.


Crocodile Trader

Crocodile Trader by Rory Macaulay gives a graphic account of the hazards which go with such an occupation in the wilds of the upper Zambesi in Northern Rhodesia. That the story is a true one - both in Africa and in the United States, where the reptiles are taken to a crocodile farm - makes it all the more readable.


My Enemy, The Crocodile: The Strange Story Of Africa's Deadliest Business

My Enemy, The Crocodile: The Strange Story Of Africa's Deadliest Business by Paul Potous is the true story of a professional crocodile hunter in Nyasaland and East Africa during the late 1940's and early 1950's.

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