(Last updated On: march 6, 2020)


You’ve more than likely seen footage of crocodiles and alligators, and also have most likely heard around how dangerous castle are. In ~ the really least, you know that crocodiles space super solid and have the right to mess you increase pretty poor with those huge jaws and also teeth. Somewhere follow me the line, human being decided the if a gator or croc is chasing you, your finest chance of survival is to operation away in a zig-zag motion. It’s actually a pretty usual idea, one that numerous of us have actually probably heard the before. Yet does this also work in the very first place? Why do world zig-zag when running native crocodiles and also alligators?

We’ll answer component of the question now; world don’t understand much about alligators or crocodiles. Many of us struggle to call the distinction anyway. Therefore chalk it increase to civilization not knowing about reptiles and also the family member infrequency of their attacks.

You are watching: How to run away from a crocodile

Oh, and also if she wondering: here’s the difference in between alligators and also crocodiles.

How quick Are Crocs and Gators?

People conflate crocodiles and also alligators a lot through the topic, arguing that the zig-zag run trick applies to both crocs and also gators. 

Besides part subtleties in appearance, crocodiles choose saltwater while alligators favor fresh water. Yet they both have comparable hunting patterns. And also it turns out, both can sprint, top top average, at around the exact same speed–roughly 11-12 miles every hour. 

This was standing in contrast to your typical human. The fastest humans can run at about 28 miles every hour. So lucky for us squishy, soft mammals, due to the fact that it method most able-bodied people would have the ability to outrun our upset reptilian friend in a straight sprint. In your challenge croc!

Lucky Humans

Luckily because that you, you’re most likely not going to be recorded in a sprinting enhance with a crocodile, or alligator, any time soon. For one, your possibilities of actually encountering among these pets outside is pretty low. Many of us don’t live in locations where castle present–unless we’re talking about sewer alligators or something.

Secondly, both alligators and also crocodiles are ambush predators. They’re no out running after food. Castle wait patiently because that food to involved them. So… By the moment an alligator or crocodile has surprised you and also clamped under on part juicy human-thigh, it’s probably too late.

But, similar to humans, crocodiles and also alligators room lazy. Castle would lot rather just swallow their food whole and also not have to put up a fight. What we’re trying come say is that humans are fairly inconvenient food. Lengthy short, many crocodiles or alligators i will not ~ feel like eating you.

Should girlfriend Zig-Zag once Running indigenous Crocodiles?

The brief answer is no, you must not. And also here’s why.

We’ve outlined that our friends below are ambush predators. We’ve also outlined how fast crocodiles and alligators are. Namely, castle aren’t very fast contrasted to us humans. 

So ~ above land, you should 100% seek to just outrun one alligator or crocodile. Which way not to run in the signature zig-zag serpentine formation. Logically, you able to cover an ext distance in much less time if you go in a directly line, opposed to curving around. Simply run fast and also straight Forrest Gump-style and also you should be fine.

Just don’t acquire into the water with them.

See girlfriend Later, Alligator?

Now, if an alligator or crocodile grabs friend in the water, she a lot an ext screwed. Because that starters, your jaws will probably have latched top top you since you were near the water and also have been ambushed.

Once ambushed, the alligator or crocodile will get in a “death roll.” that is come say they’ll basically flop approximately until girlfriend drown or otherwise die. Gator jaw strength numbers in the thousands of pounds every square inch. Therefore, you’re not going come have any type of luck prying those toothy clamps open. If you’re ambushed you should because of this put your efforts into being inconvenient. Scream, punch, and also most importantly, stick your fingers in your eyes. 

Just every little thing you do, forget that stupid thing around running serpentine. This is why girlfriend shouldn’t zig-zag from as soon as running from crocodiles. Or alligators.

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Like reptiles? check your expertise with this fun quiz: Reptiles of phibìc America.