Today we take a look at the oldest and largest crocodiles and alligators ever recorded.
Alligators and Crocodiles
While the differences between alligators and crocodiles are beyond the scope of this article, suffice it to say that the layperson can’t always tell them apart, but photos of large specimens of either creature easily capture the imaginations of readers around the world.
Today we take a look at some of the oldest and largest alligators and crocodiles ever recorded.
The average lifespan of the American alligator is up to about 50 years. Specimens living far beyond that, however, have been observed.
Consider the reigning world champ, Muja – an American alligator who resides at the Belgrade Zoo, and is currently believed to be the world’s oldest alligator. He arrived in Belgrade in 1936 as an adult, which has led his current age to be estimated to be around 79-80 years old. The previous record holder was Cabulitis, who died in Latvia around the age of 75.
In 1978, a 68-year old male alligator named Daisy died in Australia. His name was apparently chosen when his gender was mis-identified.
In 1987, the world’s oldest alligator was listed by Guinness World Records as Smiley, a 65-year old in Stockholm.
Male American alligators can typically reach up to 11.2 feet in length.
In August 2014, an Alabama family caught a massive alligator weighing 1011.5 pounds and measuring 15 feet 9-inches in length. The creature was mounted and placed on display at an Alabama museum. The Safari Club recognized it as the largest alligator in the world.
A specimen allegedly measuring 19 feet 2 inches (5.8m) was said to have been found on Marsh Island, Louisiana back in 1890. A lack of modern verification have led some to question the veracity of this claim, although it is accepted by the Louisiana Alligator Advisory Council.
There are currently two claims to the title of world’s Oldest Crocodile. The most likely candidate is Henry, a 114-year old Nile croc who celebrated his most recent birthday in December 2014 at the Crocworld Conservation Centre in Scottburgh, KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa. Crocworld’s general manager described Henry on his birthday as having “a pretty wonderful life at the centre with his six wives, and this year his record-breaking birthday will be celebrated with balloons and cake for all of his well-wishers on the big day.”
Some writers have also described Cassius, who holds the record as the world’s largest croc (see below) as the oldest, at 112 years old.
In 1997, a crocodile said to be as old as 115 years old died in Russia. The 9-foot 10-inch specimen named Kolya was believed to be between 110-115 years old.
50-year old Lolong, a massive saltwater crocodile in captivity in the Philippines, died in 2013 as the largest crocodile in captivity, measuring 6.17 meters in length (20.24 feet). Upon Lolong’s death, the current title reverted back to Cassius, a 112-year old saltwater crocodile in Australia who also held the record prior to Lolong’s discovery. Cassius measures 5.48 meters, or 18 feet in length.
Gomek was a massive crocodile which measured nearly 18 feet in length and weighed 1896 pounds. He died in 1997 in St. Augustine, Florida, where an exhibit called Gomek Forever still operates.
In addition to the true stories above, there are countless fake and unverified reports which circulate online almost continuously about extremely large or old crocs and gators. A fake report about a 185-year old alligator has been passed off as real in recent months. We have also seen a photo which claims to show a 22-foot crocodile – which is most likely the result of forced perspective.