Mugger crocodile – characteristics, habitat, population, etc.

The Mugger is a crocodile species native to the Indian subcontinent and Iran. Also known as the Marsh crocodile, it is a medium-sized crocodile with adults reaching a length of up to 4.5 meters (14.7 ft).


The Mugger crocodiles have a relatively broader snout as compared with other crocodiles. A wider snout is a characteristic of Alligators.

A Mugger crocodile/Marsh crocodile

The young crocodiles are light-coloured and have black spots. The adults are dark olive or greyish brown. Females are smaller than males with an average length between 2-2.5 meters. Males average between 3 to 3.5 meters. The maximum weight is around 450 kg.


The Mugger crocodile is listed as vulnerable by the IUCN (International Union for Conservation of Nature). The exact population is unknown. The crocodile population is badly affected because of habitat loss and river pollution. In Iran and Pakistan, the species is on the brink of extinction. Muggers are possibly extinct in Bhutan and Myanmar.


The babies feed on insects and small fish. Adults prefer fish, birds, and monkeys. Only large individuals feed on mammals like deer and buffalo.

Best places to see

Protected areas

  1. National Chambal Sanctuary, Uttar Pradesh/Madhya Pradesh
  2. Ranthambore National Park, Rajasthan
  3. Katarniaghat Wildlife Sanctuary, Uttar Pradesh


  1. Middle Ganga and its tributaries
  2. Vishwamitri River
  3. Chambal river
A Mugger sunbathing
A Mugger sunbathing

Interesting facts

  • Muggers are one of the most intelligent crocodile species. They use methods like holding or balancing sticks/branches to lure birds.
  • The largest recorded Mugger crocodile was 5.6 meters long.
  • There are some rare instances when these crocodiles encounter big cats like Leopard, Tiger, and Asiatic Lion.
  • In 2019, the last rites of Gangaram, a 130-year-old Mugger crocodile was attended by about 500 people.

(Also read: Differences between Crocodiles and Alligators | Crocodile vs Alligator)

  • The Mugger crocodile is also known as the broad-snouted crocodile.
  • The Mugger is one of the three crocodilians found in India, the other two being the Saltwater crocodile and Gharial.
  • When the temperature gets too hot or too cold, the Muggers move into burrows.
SpeciesCrocodylus palustris
Alternative namesMarsh crocodile/broad-snouted crocodile
RangeIndian subcontinent and Iran
Sizelength up to 4.5 meters/weight up to 450 kgs

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