Lolong (crocodile)

World’s Top 5 Largest Crocodiles Ever Recorded

Crocodiles (subfamily Crocodylinae) or true crocodiles are large aquatic reptiles that live throughout the tropics in Africa, Asia, the Americas and Australia. Although they are big, they suffer from a prevalence of “big fish” stories and over-exaggeration. In the Internet age, photographs of crocodiles manipulated digitally to make the animal look much larger than it is. But how big are they actually? Here are the top five ten largest crocodiles ever recorded (when I wrote the post, I didn’t know about Gomek; and after I published it, the Guinness World Record book has accepted a claim that a 23 ft/7.01 meters male saltwater crocodile weighing 2,000 kg lives within Bhitarkanika Park in the state of Orissa, India).

No. 10: Puento Noire Crocodile (5.40 meters/17.71 feet)

Puento Noire Crocodile
Puento Noire Crocodile

This unnamed monster crocodile has been at the center of a number of hoaxes. The fact is, this aggressive Nile specimen was killed in a safety operation near Puento Noire, Republic of Congo. Estimated size: 5.4 meters – 17 feet 8 in.

Current status: dead

No. 9: Gomek (5.42 meters/17.8 feet)

Gomek, the crocodile
Gomek was a large saltwater crocodile captured by George Craig in Papua New Guinea. When he died, he was 5.42 metres (17.8 ft) long, and weighed 860 kg (1896 pounds). “Gomek”. Licensed under Public Domain via Wikipedia – https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Gomek.jpg#/media/File:Gomek.jpg

Many thanks to Brad: with his comment at the comments section below, I learned about Gomek, a monster saltwater crocodile. Gomek was a large saltwater crocodile captured by George Craig in Papua New Guinea. He was purchased by Terri and Arthur Jones in 1985 and was kept in Ocala, Florida for five years before being sold to the St. Augustine Alligator Farm Zoological Park in Florida. For 8 years he wowed spectators with both his amazing nutria-tossing abilities and his even more amazing tolerance of people. Feeders of the large croc were allowed to go into the enclosure and get as close as 1 meter from the large animal (a normally suicidal proximity) without any fear of attack (for another example of a croc with great tolerance of people, see the story of Chito and Pocho). While feeders still used long tongs to feed Gomek, he was generally considered to be a “tame” crocodile and was the favorite of the Alligator farm and people around the nation.

After many years, Gomek died of heart disease on March 6, 1997. By then, he was a very old crocodile, and one of the largest and tamest captive crocodile in existence. When he died, he was 5.42 metres (17.8 ft) long, and weighed 860 kg (1896 pounds) – as confirmed by St. Augustine Alligator Farm – and probably between 60 and 80 years old. There is a tribute to Gomek near his enclosure, which now houses his successor Maximo and his mate Sydney.

Current status: dead

Read more: Gomek on wikipedia

No. 8: Cassius (5.48 meters/17 feet 11 in)

Cassius (crocodile)
Cassius

This Australian saltwater giant has been claimed as the largest crocodile held in captivity, but in fact Yai and Utan are bigger. He lives in Marineland Melanesia on Green Island in Australia. He was captured in the Finis River in the Northern Territory after attacking boats and causing a nuisance.

Cassius is 5.48 meters (17 feet 11 in) long, and is believed to be around 110 year old.

Current status: alive

Read more: Cassius the crocodile on wikipedia

No. 7-6: Yai and Utan (5.5 meters/18 feet)

Yai, the hybrid Siamestuary crocodile (June 2012)
Yai, the hybrid Siamestuary crocodile (June 2012)

Yai is an estuarine–Siamese hybrid. It is at the Samut Prakan Crocodile Farm and Zoo in Thailand. The length of Yai is between 5.5 and 6 m long (different sources give different lengths, I chose to take the minimum).

Current status: alive

Utan, the crocodile
Utan currently lives in Alligator Adventure, one of the World’s biggest reptilian facilities.

Utan is also a hybrid breed between a saltwater and Siamese crocodile. He was born in 1964, weighs in at 2000 lbs and is just over 18 ft in length. Utan is found at Samut Prakan crocodile farm, which is about twelve miles outside of Bankok, Thailand. There he was named after the farm owner’s son, Utan Young Prapakarn. He currently lives in Alligator Adventure, a reptilian facility located adjacent to Barefoot Landing in North Myrtle Beach, one of South Carolina’s most outstanding tourist attractions.

Although Utan’s bite force has never been tested, it is said to be estimated at about 5000 lbs. of pressure per square inch, more than two tons!

Current status: alive

No. 5: Brutus (5.60 meters/18 feet 4 in)

Brutus the giant crocodile
Brutus the giant crocodile is a tourist attraction on the Adelaide River in Australia.

This massive saltwater crocodile named “Brutus” has only three limbs! It is known to frequent the Adelaide river, Northern Territory, Australia. Brutus is missing his front leg following what is believed to have been a confrontation with a bull shark in the river’s estuary – leaving many people to wonder just how big the shark was.

Brutus is conservatively estimated at 5.6 meters (18 feet 4 in) and weighing about a ton.

Current status: alive.

No. 4: Bujang Senang (5.88 meters/19 feet 3 inches)

The skull of Bujang Senang
The skull of Bujang Senang at the Sarawak Museum (Kuching, Malaysia).
Photo: zoochat.com

Bujang Senang was a massive saltwater crocodile and it was living in Borneo. According to the local sources, he was a man-eater (some people even claimed that he had been around and killing for at least thirty years). At first, he was estimated at 25 feet (7.62 meters).

Bujang Senang was killed on May 20, 1992. After the kill, it turned out that his length was overestimated. He was 19 feet 3 inches long (5.88 meters) and weighing over a ton.

Current status: dead

No. 3: Gustave (~6 meters/19.68 feet)

Gustave (crocodile)
A photograph of Gustave by Martin Best for National Geographic

Probably not the biggest ever recorded, but this large man-eater crocodile named “Gustave” is definitely the most feared beast ever. It is a large male Nile crocodile from Burundi, and is rumored to have killed as many as 300 humans from the banks of the Ruzizi River and the northern shores of Lake Tanganyika! (Note: I am really skeptic about this claim.)

Gustave was named by Patrice Faye, a herpetologist who has been studying and investigating him since the late 1990s; much of what is known about Gustave stems from the film Capturing the Killer Croc, which aired in 2004 on PBS. The film documents a capture attempt and study on Gustave.

Since Gustave has not been captured, his exact length and weight is unknown. In 2002 it was stated that he could be “easily more than 20 feet (6 meters) long”, and weigh more than a ton. Some estimates have put Gustave at 7.5 meters (25 feet) or more in length. When first observed, he was estimated to be around 100 years old in order to achieve such outstanding size; however, Gustave revealed a complete set of teeth when he opened his mouth. Since a 100-year old crocodile “should be nearly toothless” (according to the documentary), he was estimated to be “probably no older than 60, and likely, still growing”.

Gustave is also known for the three bullet scars on his body. His right shoulder blade was also found to be deeply wounded. Circumstances surrounding the four scars are unknown. Scientists and herpetologists who have studied Gustave claim that his uncommon size and weight impedes his ability to hunt the species’ usual, agile prey such as fish, antelope and zebra, forcing him to attack larger animals such as hippopotamus, large wildebeest and, to some extent, humans. According to a popular local warning, he is said to hunt and leave his victims’ corpses uneaten. Also, it was stated in his documentary film that since crocodiles can go several months without eating, one the size of Gustave could afford to select his prey carefully.

The last reported sighting of Gustave was in February 2008 by National Geographic sources. According to the wikipedia, in June 2015, one resident claimed that Gustave dragged an adult bull buffalo on a riverbank. That claim is under “citation needed” status.

National Geographic Channel produced a documentary titled “Capturing the Killer Croc” (watch below), which followed a team led by Patrice Faye that tried to capture Gustave, but was unable to do so.

Current status: unknown, probably alive.

Read more: Gustave (crocodile) on wikipedia

No. 2: Dominator (6.1 meters/20 feet)

Dominator, the saltwater giant
Dominator, the saltwater giant

Dominator has never been officially measured but it is estimated that he measures up to 20 feet (6.1 meters) and weighs over a ton. He shares the same territory with another saltwater giant Brutus (Adelaide river, Northern Territory, Australia).

Current status: alive

No. 1: Lolong (6.17 meters/20 feet 3 in)

Lolong (crocodile)
Lolong

Lolong was the largest crocodile in captivity. He was an Indo-Pacific or saltwater crocodile (Crocodylus porosus) measured at 20 ft 3 in (6.17 m), and weighed 2,370 lbs (1,075 kg), making him one of the largest crocodiles ever measured from snout-to-tail.

In November 2011, Australian crocodile expert Dr. Adam Britton of National Geographic sedated and measured Lolong in his enclosure and confirmed him as the world’s longest crocodile ever caught and placed in captivity.

Lolong died in captivity at around 8 pm on 10 February 2013, due to pneumonia and cardiac arrest, which was aggravated by a fungus infection and stress.

Lolong was caught in a Bunawan creek in the province of Agusan del Sur in the Philippines on 13 September 2011. He was captured with the joint cooperation of the local government unit, residents, and crocodile hunters of Palawan. The giant crocodile was hunted over a period of three weeks; once it was found, it took around 100 people to bring him onto land. He became aggressive at several points during the capture, and twice broke restraining ropes before eventually being properly secured. He was estimated to be at least 50 years old.

Lolong was suspected of eating a fishermen who went missing in the town of Bunawan, and also of consuming a 12-year-old girl whose head was discovered two years earlier. He was also the primary suspect in the disappearance of sea horses in the area. In the examination of the stomach contents after his capture, remnants of water buffaloes reported missing before Lolong’s capture were found, but no human remains.

The nongovernmental organization activist Animal Kingdom Foundation Inc., with the cooperation of People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, had urged the local government of Bunawan to return Lolong to the creek of barangay Nueva Era, where the giant reptile was captured. But, in an ongoing debate, Bunawan mayor Edwin “Cox” Elorde and residents of the barangay opposed the crocodile’s release, arguing that he would threaten individuals living in the vicinity of the creek.

The crocodile was named after Ernesto “Lolong” Goloran Cañete, one of the veteran crocodile hunters from the Palawan Crocodile and Wildlife Reservation Center, who led the hunt. After weeks of stalking, the hunt for Lolong took its toll on Cañete’s health. He died of a heart attack several days before the crocodile was captured.

Lolong was officially certified by the Guinness Book of World Records as the “world’s biggest crocodile in captivity” at 20.25 ft (6.17 m).

Current status: dead

Read more: Lolong on wikipedia

Number 1 candidate: Kalia (Bhitarkanika Park crocodile) (claimed size: 7.01 meters/23 feet)

It seems the Guinness World Record book has accepted a claim that a 23 ft (7.01 meters) giant male saltwater (named Kalia) crocodile weighing 2,000 kg lives within Bhitarkanika Park in the state of Orissa, India, but because of the difficulty to capture such a large monster, the accuracy of the measurement is yet to be verified. There’s also no photo yet.

I am very sceptical about this claim, while it is much larger than any other accurately reported measurement.

Current status: alive

What about Krys, the “Savannah King”?

Krys Crocodile
The only known photo of the Krys Crocodile. Note that the forced perpective was used in the photo, a technique that employs optical illusion to make an object appear larger than it actually is.

According to a story, a giant crocodile was shot in July 1958 near Normanton, Queensland, Australia. It was nicknamed Krys after the person who shot it. It was claimed at 28 foot 4 inches (8.64 meters). There is also a life size replica of it at Normanton.

The claimed size of Krys is highly suspicious, because it is much larger than any other accurately reported measurements.

Zoologist Adam Britton says: “I’ve never counted “Krys” because it’s just a story – there’s no evidence at all to back it up, and it just seems so far outside the maximum possible range for this species that I’d need some pretty solid evidence to believe it. That’s why it never appears in any official statistics.

The minimum acceptable criteria for record-breaking crocs should include a tape measure along their back, because “big fish” stories outnumber accurate estimates by several orders of magnitude.”

Krys , the Crocodile - Life size replica
Life size replica of Krys at Normanton, Queensland, Australia.

Honorable Mentions

Matara crocodile (17+ feet / 5.18+ meters)

November 7, 2016 – A huge crocodile, over 17 feet long, was captured in Matara, Sri Lanka. It was stuck in a canal leading off the Nilwala river. The giant reptile was released back into the river by wildlife officials. (Thanks for the comment, Dalya)

The largest alligator?

Click to see what is the largest alligator ever measured, and the differences between the crocodiles and the alligators.

The largest alligator ever recorded: Stokes Alligator, Alabama
The largest alligator ever recorded

The largest prehistoric crocodile?

In the prehistoric ages, some animals were much bigger than today’s counterparts – including crocodilians. Click to see what was the largest prehistoric crocodile.

Sarcosuchus
Sarcosuchus was one of the largest crocodiles ever lived in history. Photo: photos-albums.com

Sources

52 thoughts on “World’s Top 5 Largest Crocodiles Ever Recorded”

  1. Lolz, that Brutus reminds me of crocodile movies. You know, movies where an old guy will tell something about a monster in the river/sea and he’s hunting it for a long time but no success. Some teens would wander and they get eaten one by one.

    1. In northern Australia there is a lot of unexplored country and few people live or ever go there…and I remember reading that saltwater crocs get to around 30 feet up there. After seeing this article, I definitely can believe it. Animals like this don’t die easily, have no real predators, and are good at hunting at sea and on land…not only that but they eat damn near anything.

    1. Thanks for the comment! Well, maybe you’re right. But how many meters are they actually? Who measured them and when? Most importantly, where are the photos? I checked their website, they put some crocodile photos but none of them seemed 6+ meter to me (I am not sure, maybe I am wrong). The reference link on their wikipedia page (marked as [1]) is broken. So, where is the evidence? It is interesting that the Guinness World Records Book is putting this info on their page with such little evidence.

      If I see the evidence, I’ll happily update this post.

      Not related to the topic but their website is ultra-backward, which is a shame, since India has thousands of excellent programmers and designers.

      1. Hey there, really enjoyed this article. I loved crocodiles since I was young. I can’t help but let you know about this croc called Bujang Senang. Check it out, it has a great backstory. And it’s also huge.

    2. Well , i don’t know if i am entirely correct…but recently i visited bhitarkanika and found out from the locals claiming ‘The Kalia’ to be the largest croc in the national park..I asked if they could show me..and with three days of searching found him lying on a distant bank..he seemed huge… but he entered the water quickly…I only managed to get a distant picture from around a distance of 35- 40 metres..hope this helps..I’ll post the pic soon…

    1. Thanks for the warning! Normally I do this every time, somehow I skipped it in this post. I gave the links both in each items and at the bottom of the page, in the “sources” section.

        1. Sarcosuchus was bigger, and has had a stronger bite. But I think it would be an open field. I can say 60% Sarcosuchus, 40% Deinosuchus. What do you think?

    1. Real photo. I live in The territory. Been on the tour rumours time and yes it’s real. In fact this is inacurrate as he shares the same span of river(Adelaide river) with a croc Nick named domintor. Up to 1/2 meter longer and wider. They in fact have the odd fight.

      1. Hi, thanks for the comment. Yes, the current photo is real. I was using (my mistake) a photoshopped photo here previously, taken from dailymail.co.uk. You can see the fake photo here. The 2nd photo is photoshopped at this link.

        And thank you for the info about Dominator! He is absolutely a monster. I added him to the list.

  2. There’s a crocodile called Bujang Senang that was shot dead after killing few locals in 1992 by the local authorities in the Sarawak state of Malaysia on the island of Borneo. It was measured at 19ft 3inches long and it’s bones is on display at the Kuching Museum. Please check this one out.

  3. the two statement below contradicts each other, 1# should be removed if without official measurements.

    “because of the difficulty to capture such a large monster, the accuracy of the measurement is yet to be verified”

    and

    “The minimum acceptable criteria for record-breaking crocs should include a tape measure along their back, because “big fish” stories outnumber accurate estimates by several orders of magnitude.”

    1. Hi Gerry,

      Thanks for the comment. You are absolutely right, and in fact I was thinking about that too. I updated the post accordingly.

  4. The largest crocodile is not Kalia from bhitarkanika it’s was Gauri from bhitarkanika park,Odisha ,India .she died on 2014 And after that Kalia is the world biggest crocodile

  5. Thank for your post,but there’s another saltwater croc that was in the same area as lolong and it was the one to kill and eat
    the missing people.It’s rumored to be 27 feet.

  6. Great post! I’ve been keeping an eye out for Gustave sightings since 2008. I wonder if he’s still alive. BTW, the current Wikipedia on Gustave says that he was sighted June 2015. I gather that you did not find enough compelling data to mention that.

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