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Estuarine Crocodiles

What are they?

Crocodiles are large reptiles that can be found in the tropical regions of Asia, Africa, Australia and the Americas. Crocodiles occur naturally in the wild in Singapore, although they are not commonly sighted. The species that is found here is the Estuarine Crocodile. Also known as the Saltwater Crocodile, it is one of the largest crocodile species in the world and can grow to more than 5m in length. It has long snout and a broad, muscular tail with ridges.


Photo by Mendis Tan

Distribution & Habitat

Estuarine Crocodiles inhabit brackish and freshwater areas such as coastal areas and wetlands. They camouflage well and are difficult to see because they are often submerged in water. Even when out of the water on a river bank, due to the cryptic brown colouration of their skin, they are difficult to spot. They hunt mainly at night, feeding mostly on fish but they may also eat mammals, birds and carrion (the flesh of dead animals).


Crocodiles are cold-blooded and rely on external sources of heat, such as the heat energy of the sun, to warm up. They usually come onto land to bask in the sun. They may look bulk and clumsy but in fact they can move very quickly over short distances, both on land and in water. Crocodiles are wild animals and also ambush predators that lie in wait for fish or animals to come close before rushing forward suddenly to attack. They can become aggressive and attack, especially when provoked, whether on land or in water.

Are our green spaces safe to visit?

Estuarine Crocodiles are usually found in the water or at the mudflats away from visitor routes. Warning signs and advisory notices have been posted at areas where these animals are most often seen. Visitors should heed these signs, which advise the public to stay on the visitor routes and not venture off the designated paths. 

Did you know?

The species is no longer found in much of its original range due to the destruction of its habitats, over-hunting for its hide (valued as quality leather for making shoes and handbags) and meat, and human persecution. Sadly, hatchlings are sometimes sold as pets.


What should you do if you encounter a crocodile?

  • DO stay calm and back away.
  • DO NOT approach, provoke or feed the animal.

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Last updated on 21 February 2022

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