Crocodile Locomotion & Movement How Does a Crocodile Move?

The Crocodile is predominantly an amphibious animal well designed for swimming in water where its movement appear fluid and effortless. On land on the other hand it appears ponderous and sluggish. The crocodile has five modes of locomotion. Three on land and three in water.

Belly Crawl

The belly crawl is the most frequently observed land locomotion employed by a crocodile. In this mode its legs are splayed out to the side like a lizard (but the crocodile is not a lizard), and its feet too are pointed outwards away from its body when moves.
There are several variations to the belly crawl. The true belly crawl is usually employed only at very slow speeds. In it the animal slides along a surface with its chest, stomach and tail on the ground. With each step its legs hardly move above the ground. Moving its legs in a diagonal fashion, right front and left rear are lifted up and forward while the front right and rear left legs already on the ground push backwards, propelling the crocodile’s body forward on its smooth-scaled underside. Then the process is repeated with the alternate set of legs.
At slow belly crawl speeds the crocodiles body remains relatively rigid but as it increases speed it lifts its body slightly higher, barely clearing the ground, and its body begins to undulate from side to side and its tail too swishes from side to side with each exaggerated stride. These gait allows the crocodile to exert more force in each stride thereby increasing its speed and height clearance. Depending on the surface, a crocodile can reach speeds of 5 to 10 kph using this technic.Crocodiles regularly use the higher speed belly crawl to escape from potential threats, usually into the nearest body of water.

High Walk

In the high walk the crocodile lefts its entire body and nearly half its tail off the ground.





They can swim up to 20 mph (32 kph) and can hold their breath underwater for around one hour.

How Do Crocodile Float?

A crocodile’s vertical position in water (above the water, below the surface or underwater) depends on the amount of air in its lungs. By varying the volume of air in its lungs the crocodile can control its buoyancy. When surface floating the crocodile splays out its legs to act as stabilisers to prevent it from rolling.


Related Article: Australian Saltwater Crocodile

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