How to Survive an Encounter with a Crocodile or an Alligator

What makes crocodiles and alligators dangerous is their unpredictability. They can sit and wait for hours, submerged in water, and waiting for their prey. The key to surviving an attack is to avoid an attack in the first place. This is because the last thing you want to do is fight back this giant predator to get your leg out of its jaw, as it's nearly impossible. However, you must learn these survival tips if you find yourself in such a do-or-die situation.

Part 1: Avoiding an Attack

In this first section, learn how you can avoid a crocodile attack.

Step 1: Avoid swimming or getting inside the waters

You shouldn't try to swim or get inside the water where crocodiles or alligators reside. It doesn't matter whether you can't see them for miles or they don't surface for hours; if you see a sign that says they are around, avoid it at any cost.

Step 2: Don't Camp Nearby

Although crocodiles and alligators live in water, they can still come out to land and attack you. Camp at least 50m away from the water or as far as possible for the safety of you and your loved ones. If you are nearby any crocodile-infested water, use a flashlight or headlamp to check the area before moving.

Crocodiles often hunt during dusks and night. Try to avoid the waters or nearby areas during these times.

Step 3: Keep your Distance

Stay away from a crocodile at least 25 meters when you spot one. If you are boating, keep your distance for at least 10 meters. Crocodiles can also attach vertically from the water. Therefore, avoid standing or leaning over the docks or side of the boats.

Step 4: Don't Feed the Crocs

Leave the area whenever you encounter a baby croc or a nest. Mother crocodiles and alligators can viciously provoke an attack to safeguard their babies.

Feeding the crocs is not something to be encouraged. When you feed them, they start associating humans with food, increasing the encounters as they often return to humans for food.

Step 5: Stay cautious during the Breeding Season

Alligators and crocodiles are most aggressive during mating, breeding, and nesting season. Meanwhile, mothers during the nesting seasons are most ferocious and defensive.

If you live in an area with crocodiles, you must be extra cautious during the mating and breeding season. The breeding season for freshwater crocodiles in Australia is between July and August, with nesting season extending from September to April. Meanwhile, Florida's alligators breed at the start of May and nest for several months.

Part 2: How to React to a Crocodile Attack

Now let's see how you can possibly react in the event of a crocodile attack −

Step 1: Swim or Wade to the Shore

Don't make any noise or splashes if you accidentally fall into the water, as this could draw crocodile attention towards you. Simply swim or wade to the shore as quickly and calmly as possible.

Step 2: Run away as Fast as Possible

If you encounter a crocodile on land, run away as fast as possible. Crocodiles can run very fast when they are about to attack. So, skip those "running in zigzag motion" advice and run in a straight line as fast as you can. The goal is to get away from the croc as far as possible.

Part 3: Surviving an Attack

Finally, let's understand how you can survive a crocodile attack.

Method 1: Poke the Eyes

The eyes are one of the sensitive organs of a crocodile. Try to gauge, kick or poke the eyes of the animal, and there is an excellent chance that the crocodile may release you from its hold. The croc may fight you back and try not to let you go. So, you must keep repeating your attack on its eyes until it lets you go.

Method 2: Attack its Throat

If the crocodile has grabbed you so that you can't attack its eyes, you must attack its throat. The flap (palatal valve) inside the crocodile helps them keep the water from getting inside its throat. When the animal has dragged you inside the water, your only option is to grab the palatal valve, allowing water to get inside the mouth of the crocodile.

Landing blows and kicks on the animal's head improve your chance of surviving a crocodile attack. If you are with someone, you can ask them to attack the head of the croc while you attack its eyes or throat.


A crocodile attack can cause significant tissue damage and blood loss. Above all, it can lead to severe infection, and a minor bite from a small alligator or crocodile can lead to severe infection if not treated immediately. Hence, you should seek medical attention right away.

Updated on: 09-Feb-2023

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