Do Crocodiles Die Of Old Age? Facts On How Crocodiles Die

Crocodiles are fierce and large animals who continue to grow throughout their lives. But, do they die of old age? Let us find out. 

Crocodiles do not die of old age, and if all factors remain constant, they may live up to 100 years. However, most crocodiles die before they reach that age due to external factors such as loss of habitat, attacks by other crocodile species. Besides, natural disasters are one of the leading causes of a crocodile’s death.

There is a lot of curiosity about crocodiles and their lifespan. So, let us go through some key facts on how crocodiles die. 

Can crocodiles live forever?

A common myth that used to surround crocodiles is that they are immortal. However, is there any truth to it? Let us find out.

Unfortunately, crocodiles cannot live forever since they often die due to predatory attacks, natural disasters, and loss of habitat. The longest recorded lifespan of a crocodile has been 140 years. Crocodiles do not wear down with age like human beings, or other animals do but continue to grow bigger until external circumstances intervene. Even crocodiles kept in captivity may die of stress. 

Image Credits: “Crocodile” by Radek Vitoul is licensed under CC BY 2.0.

Lack of biological aging is a huge benefit for crocodiles, but they do lose their teeth and muscle tone, and the female species begin to produce fewer eggs as they grow older. Some of the leading causes of crocodile’s death are predation for their hide, loss of habitat, and consequent starvation as well as accidents. 

Can alligators live forever?

Crocodiles and alligators are hugely different but are often mistaken for one another. Can alligators live forever? Let us delve into this discussion together.

Alligators cannot live forever and have a much shorter lifespan than crocodiles. They live for about 30 to 50 years, with those kept in captivity living slightly longer, but like crocodiles, they have no finite lifespan and continue to grow and age as long as they are not killed by external circumstances like predators, starvation, sickness, and so on. 

Scientists and researchers remain divided over whether crocodiles and alligators are immortal. Some argue that they can live forever if undisturbed by external surroundings, while others argue that they are subject to aging like all living creatures. There is still no cohesive evidence in this regard, and therefore, it is commonly assumed that neither of these animals has a finite lifespan. 

Image Credits: “Alligators @ Bush Gardens” by Chris Benseler is licensed under CC BY 2.0.

How do crocodiles die?

Wondering how crocodiles die? While the answer is not an easy one, let us attempt to figure it out. 

Crocodiles die due to starvation, loss of habitat, external attacks by human beings or other animals, as well as due to natural disasters. Unlike other living creatures who die with old age, crocodiles continue to grow bigger with age. Over the years, the combined effects of global warming have significantly impacted the world’s crocodile population. 

It is interesting to note here that there are visible signs of aging seen in a crocodile, and they do lose their vitality with age, but they still remain fierce animals who keep growing bigger as long as they live.

How to determine a crocodile’s age?

Wondering how you can tell the age of a crocodile? Allow us to tell you more in this regard. 

A crocodile’s age can be determined by counting the growth rings on their bones and teeth, which grow in number as they age. Every lamellar growth ring signifies a change in its size, which usually occurs once every year. Besides, an easy method to determine their age would be to use their size as a barometer since these animals continue to grow bigger with age. 

With age, there is a significant decrease in the strength and reproductive capabilities of a crocodile, although they continue to remain fierce predators. In addition, crocodiles begin to face a lot of competition with age, and they are no longer able to fight with the same vitality, which often results in injury and death. 

Do crocodiles die without water?

Image Credits: “Riverine crocodile sunning.” by Suri JV (on and off) is licensed under CC BY-ND 2.0.

It is a well-known fact that crocodiles live on both land and water. But do they die without water? Let us find out together. 

Crocodiles will not die without water, and they do not need to be constantly swimming in water to survive since their bodies are adapted for both land and water environment. However, we must remember that crocodiles are cold-blooded animals who cannot regulate their body temperatures, and they depend on their surrounding environment for it, which is why they divide their time between land and water.

Crocodiles need sun exposure, but they also need to be in the water to cool themselves, so switching between land and water is ideal for them. Another interesting observation about crocodiles is that they are very resilient creatures who can go without food or water for approximately two years. This is because their body is designed to store fat which comes to their aid in the absence of food and provides the required nourishment. 

How long do crocodiles live in the wild?

Image Credits: “dwarf-crocodile-1600” by livingxfile is marked with Public Domain Mark 1.0.

Wondering how long crocodiles survive if they live in their natural habitat? Let us explore more in this regard.

Crocodiles can live for about 50-75 years in the wild, with saltwater crocodiles having the longest lifespan and dwarf crocodiles having the shortest lifespan. Although living in the wild allows the crocodile to function effectively, they are far more vulnerable, with potential predators looming around and a loss of habitat being a primary concern. 

Can crocodiles live in captivity?

Curious to know whether wild animals like crocodiles can live in captivity? Allow us to tell you all about it. 

Crocodiles can live in captivity, and in fact, they live better and longer when kept in an enclosed environment. On average, most crocodiles who live in captivity have an increased lifespan and can live anywhere between 75 to 100 years. This is because, in captivity, crocodiles get proper living conditions and are not threatened by potential attackers or starved due to loss of habitat.

There are prominent parks and conservatories around the world where crocodiles abound. Some of these include the Crocodylus Park in the Northern Territory of Australia as well as the Kakadu National Park in the same region. In America, we have the Dry Tortugas National Park and Everglades National Park in Florida. 

Which crocodile species lives the longest?

Image Credits: “Saltwater Crocodile (Crocodylus porosus)” by berniedup is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0.

Although all crocodiles live very long and definitely outlive most human beings, let us figure out which crocodile species lives the longest.

The saltwater crocodile is the longest-living crocodile species as they can live up to 70-75 years in the wild and approximately up to 100 years in captivity. They are also the largest species of crocodiles known in the world since they continue to grow bigger as they age. On the other hand, the longest living alligator recorded is 85 years old only and lives in captivity. 

We must add here that as crocodiles age, they show visible signs of aging, such as losing their teeth. This makes it difficult for them to toss their prey or bite them. As such, there is a gradual decline in their life, and this natural deterioration often results in death due to starvation or loss of habitat. 


The social skills, enormous size, and incredible hunting skills have contributed to the lifespan of a crocodile, either directly or indirectly. In prehistoric times, crocodiles had a much longer lifespan and grew up to a humongous size. However, with evolution, their lifespan and size have reduced considerably. 

Like most other animals, crocodiles have faced the brunt of changing climate, and this has led to a loss of habitat and an increase in deaths due to natural disasters. As such, the population of crocodiles has reduced significantly over the years, and a large percentage of the crocodile population has been kept in captivity to ensure their longevity. 

It is important to reiterate that crocodiles are not immortal creatures, despite it being a common belief. In fact, like all living creatures, their body deteriorates with age even as they continue to grow bigger. 

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