Can a human outrun a crocodile?

BBC Wildlife section editor Sarah McPherson answers your wild question. 

Nile crocodile, Murchison Falls National Park, Uganda

Nile crocodile, Murchison Falls National Park, Uganda © iStock 


The short answer is yes. “Most crocodiles can achieve 12–14kph for short periods,” says crocodile specialist Adam Britton, “which is slower than a fit human can run. So if you’re in reasonable shape, you could definitely outrun a croc.”

Crocodiles have three main types of locomotion: the belly-crawl, used over mud; the high walk, in which the legs push the body up off the ground; and the ‘gallop’, where they bound like a rabbit. “Ancient croc-like creatures likely galloped after prey on land, but most modern crocodiles only gallop to escape danger,” says Adam, “taking prey by surprise launches from the water.”


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