Extinct & Extant: World’s Largest Crocodiles and Lizards Ever

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Crocodiles belong to Crocodylidae that include true crocodiles, alligators, caimans and gharials. They are large aquatic reptiles and believed to be 200 million years old. While dinosaurs became extinct 65 million years ago, crocodiles survived great extinction events. Lizards, on the other hand, are a large and widespread group of squamate reptiles, with nearly 5,000 species, ranging across all continents except Antarctica as well as most oceanic island chains.

Nile Crocodile (Crocodylus niloticus)

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Growing at a maximum length of 6.45 meters or 21.3 feet long, the Nile Crocodile of Africa is the largest crocodilian in Africa and regarded as the second largest crocodilian after the Saltwater Crocodile. The male crocodile usually measure from 11.5 to 16 feet long or 3.5 to 5 meters, but very old, mature ones can grow to 18 ft or 5.5 meters or more. Males usually weigh about 1100 lbs or 500 kg but very large & old specimens can reach up to 2000 lbs or 909 kg.

Terrible Crocodile (Deinosuchus hatcheri)

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The extinct Terrible Crocodile is believed to measured up to 12 m or 40 ft and weighed up to 8.5 metric tons (9.4 short tons)-its overall appearance was fairly similar to its smaller relatives – the alligators. It had large, robust teeth that were built for crushing. One study indicates that it may have lived for up to 50 years, growing at a similar rate to that of modern crocodilians, but maintaining this growth over a much longer period of time.

Saltwater Crocodile (Crocodylus porosus)

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Typically 4.5 to 5 meters or 14.8 to 16.5 feet long, the Saltwater or Estuarine Crocodile is the largest of all living crocodilians and reptiles. It is found in suitable habitats throughout Southeast Asia, Northern Australia and the surrounding waters. The largest confirmed saltwater crocodile on record was 20.6 ft or 6.3 m long, and weighed over 1,360 kg or 3,000 lb. Also, a living specimen estimated at 23 ft or 7 m and 2,000 kg or 4,400 lb has been accepted by the Guinness Book of World Records.

Super Croc (Sarchosuchus imperator)

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Sarcosuchus, meaning ‘flesh crocodile’, is one of the largest giant crocodile-like reptiles that ever lived. It was almost twice as long as the modern Saltwater Crocodile and weighed approximately 8 to 10 tons. Fossils were found in the Sahara Desert.

American Alligator (Alligator mississippiensis)

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The American Alligator of the United States s one of the largest living species of crocodiles. It is typically 11.2 to 14.7 ft or 3.4 to 4.5 meters in length. One American Alligator allegedly reached a length of 19 feet, 2 inches or 5.8 meters, which would make it the largest on record. American Alligators have the strongest bite of any living animal, measured at up to 9452 Newtons in laboratory conditions.

Beak Crocodile (Rhampusuchus crassedens)

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The extinct Beak Crocodile of India is a relative of the modern Gharial and False Gharial. Paleontologists estimate that it was one of the largest, if not the largest crocodilian that ever lived, reaching an estimated length of 15 to 18 meters or 50-60 feet long.

Gharial (Gavialis gangeticus)

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The critically endangered Gharial, sometimes called the Indian Gavial or Gavial, is one of the second-longest of all living crocodilians. It is notable for its long and unusual snout. This species is one of the largest of all crocodilian species, being the only crocodilian besides the Saltwater Crocodile and Nile Crocodile with multiple records of attaining a length of 6 m or 20 feet and a weight of 1000 kg or 2200 lbs.

Giant Caiman (Purusaurus)

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Estimated at around 12 meters long by paleontologists, Purussaurus, a Giant Caiman living in South America during the Miocene epoch, 8 million years ago, is one of the largest crocodilians known to have ever existed. Fossils were found in the Amazons.

Black Caiman (Melanosuchus niger)

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Growing up to 5 m or 16.5 feet long, the Black Caiman of South America, is the largest member of Alligator family. It is one of the largest reptiles in the world and the largest predator in the Amazon River. It was hunted to near extinction primarily for its commercially valuable hide. The largest reported Black Caiman, measuring 7.7 meters or 25.2 ft and weighing 1,310 kg or 2,870 lb was shot in Brazil in 1965.

Great Roamer (Varanus priscus)

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Megalania or Great Roamer is a giant extinct Goanna or Monitor Lizard. It disappeared around 40,000 years ago and the first aboriginal settlers of Australia may have encountered living Megalania. It reached a length of 7.9 meters or 26 feet long with an estimated weight of 1,940 kilograms or 4,300 lb.

Monitor Lizard (Varanus salvadorii)

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Monitor Lizard is the largest species of monitor lizard found in New Guinea and is believed to be one of the longest lizards in the world, reaching up to 244 cm or 8.0 ft. It is an arboreal lizard with a dark green body and yellowish bands, a blunt snout and a very long tail. It lives in mangrove swamps and coastal rain forests in the southeastern part of the island.

Knob Lizard (Tylosaurus proriger)

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Protuberance or Knob Lizard was a large predatory marine lizard closely related to modern Monitor Lizards and to snakes. Tylosaurus proriger was among the largest of all the mosasaurs reaching maximum lengths of 15 meters or more (49+ ft).

Komodo Dragon (Varanus komodoensis)

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At a maximum size of 3.13 meters or 10.3 feet long and 166 kg or 370 lb, the Komodo Dragon, a species of lizard of Indonesia, is the largest living species lizard in the world. Its unusual size is attributed to island gigantism, since there are no other carnivorous animals to fill the niche on the islands where they live, and also to the Komodo Dragon’s low metabolic rate. As a result of their size, these lizards dominate the ecosystems in which they live.

Meuse River Lizard (Mosasaurus)

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The extinct Meuse River Lizard of the Netherlands was a serpentine marine reptile. The first fossil remains were discovered in a limestone quarry at Maastricht on the Meuse in 1764. These ferocious marine predators are now considered to be the closest relatives of snakes. It reached lengths of about 15 meters long.

American Crocodile (Crocodylus acutus)

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With a maximum length of 6.1 meter or 20 feet long, the American Crocodile of Central and South America, it is considered as on of the largest crocodiles in the world. It occurs from the Atlantic and Pacific coasts of southern Mexico to South America as far as Peru and Venezuela. It also breeds on Cuba, Jamaica, Hispaniola and Florida, USA.

Hain River Lizard (Hainosaurus)

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The extinct Hain River Lizard was one of the largest mosasaurs that ever existed. It reached lengths of up to 15 meters or 49 ft long which made it one of the top predators of the Late Cretaceous. These animals may have preyed on turtles, cephalopods, sharks, fish and others.

Orinoco Crocodile (Crocodylus intermedius)

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The critically endangered Orinoco Crocodile of South America, in particular the Orinoco River, is one of the largest crocodilian in the world. Typical measurements for adults range from 3 to 4.8 m or 9.9-16 feet long. Typical weight for mature females is 200 kg (440 lbs) and 380 kg (837 lbs) for males. This crocodile can be recognized by its relatively long snout and its yellowish hide with dark brown bands.

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For related articles see

World’s Largest and Longest Snakes Ever

Ten Most Amazing Dinosaurs

World’s Most Attractive and Most Colorful Reptiles


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