Never Smile At a Crocodile

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"Interior Crocodile Alligator, I drive a Chevrolet Movie Theater!!!"


Everyone knows that Everything's Even Worse with Sharks. They make the sea a scary, dangerous place. However, they live only in the sea, so that means rivers and lakes are safe. Right?

Enter the Crocodile!!

This trope can be seen as the fresh-water equivalent of the above-mentioned Shark trope. Crocodiles in fiction (as well as alligators, gavials, and other close relations) tend to be huge, green monsters always looking for the next meal, lurking in rivers, swamps and sometimes in castle's moats. They have a powerful bite, and hard skin which make them hard to hurt. Furthermore, they're reptiles, which tends to make them even more despicable if possible.

The trope is sometimes subverted by making the croc a comedic glutton or a Cool Pet.

See also Everything's Even Worse with Sharks, Shark Pool and Reptiles Are Abhorrent.

Examples of Never Smile At a Crocodile include:

Anime and Manga

  • In One Piece, the Shichibukai Sir Crocodile keeps several, gargantuan Crocodile monsters in his lair. They can easly bite and chomp down stone.
    • Furthermore, in volumes 59/60 is revealed that Luffy's home land of Dawn Island had crocodile-infested rivers.
  • Berserk: The Kushans use mutant weapon-wielding animals as shock troops. Crocodiles wielding spears are used for amphibious assaults.
  • In one Lupin III movie, the resident Master Swordsman Goemon Ishikawa subdue a huge alligator and ties it up with his kimono.
  • Ninin ga Shinobuden subverts the trope by introducing Devil, the talking crocodile who is just as zany as the rest of the cast.
  • In Heat Guy J, there is a Shout-Out to the well-known "Alligators in the Sewer" myth as Daisuke travels through an Absurdly Spacious Sewer. The alligator appears...and everyone is instantly more alert. It doesn't actually harm anyone, though.
  • Averted in The Idolmaster, as Hibiki's pet alligator (or maybe crocodile?) is completely docile.
  • In ''Digimon, the largest of the Seven Great Demon Lords is Leviamon, who's a big red crocodile and represents the sin of Envy.
  • The very first target of Toriko was the "Gararadile", a huge, eight-legged crocodile and a class 5 monster. That particular one was a 300 years old and huge gararadile and a class 8 beastie, but was easily killed and eaten by Toriko.
  • Ranma ½: The Kodachi household keeps a pet crocodile named Mister Turtle.

Comic Books

  • Batman - Killer Croc. Depending on the Writer, he's a man with a serious skin disease which make him look very reptilian or a full-blown crocodile man.
  • One early Cattivik story involves a large Nile Crocodile attempting to eat the eponymous character, but without much success.
  • Another aversion is Albert from Pogo.
  • Seemingly every story featuring Corrupt Hicks set in a bayou has them raise alligators as a way to dispose of evidence (Jonah Hex, The Punisher...)
  • Tintin:
    • In Tintin in the Congo, Tintin is tied up by The Heavy over a river and left to be eaten by crocodiles. Later the two have a confrontation and fall over a cliff into a river. Tintin is saved by the back of a hippopotamus, but The Heavy lands in the water and is eaten by crocodiles.
    • In Prisoners of the Sun, Tintin and the Captain come across a river. Tintin believes it to be full of logs, which, of course, are all alligators.
    • In Tintin and the Picaros, the amnesiac Captain Haddock wanders into a swamp, attracting the attention of an alligator. It silently approaches...and then is attacked by an anaconda, allowing the captain to get out.

Films -- Animated

  • In The Rescuers, the main villain possesses two pet gators. In the sequel, the climax includes several crocodiles. And a waterfall.
  • The Lion King: Averted in the first movie, where the only crocodiles who appear are part of a musical number. Played straight in the sequel, where Kovu and Kiara are in danger of being eaten by crocodiles.
  • Subverted with Louie the alligator in The Princess and the Frog. All he wants to do is play jazz, but of course the humans only see a giant gator trying to get close to them (never mind that it's playing a trumpet). Played straight with the other bad alligators.
  • Ben Ali Gator and his retinue in the "Dance of the Hours" segment of Fantasia. Not very vicious, but a bit of a lech.
  • Subversion: the original Non Sequitur Scene from All Dogs Go to Heaven. When the gargantuan alligator is about to devour the hero, he's surprised by his voice and spares him. He even gets to eat the Big Bad later.
  • In The Swan Princess, Swan Lake has many flowers, but Jean-Bob the frog wants to fetch the flowers in the middle of the lake, past two hungry alligators, to give to Odette. If she finds that he's risked his life to give them to her, he reasons, she'll be impressed and kiss him, and then he will turn into a prince.
    • The same alligators pose a real threat later, when Odette's friends must free her and Bromley from the dungeon below Swan Lake.
  • The crocodile from Peter Pan actually made a brief cameo in the 1960 Disney animated short Goliath II.
  • The first animal Mad Madam Mim turned into during the Wizard Duel from The Sword in the Stone is a pink crocodile.
  • One of the animals Gus the raincloud made in Partly Cloudy is a crocodile.
  • Yzma secretly owns a pit full of crocodiles beneath Kuzco's palace in The Emperors New Groove.
  • Captain Crocodile from Robin Hood.
  • The title character of Megamind has crocodiles living inside his lair.
  • The villain of one The Land Before Time sequel appears to be a giant crocodile named Dil who for some reason actually hates her partner-in-crime, Icky, who is a prehistoric seagull. At the end of the film, Dil finally gets fed up with Icky, and as a result she kicks him away, only to end up being chased away by an angry plesiosaur shortly afterwards.
  • Before finally settling on a beaver, Tramp from Lady and the Tramp actually wants a crocodile at a zoo to get Lady's muzzle off her face.
  • In The Thief and the Cobbler, Zigzag tames One-Eye's crocodiles when he's thrown into a pit with them the first time, but once his evil plan fails and he has nothing to give the crocodiles, they eat him.
  • See "Literature" below for Peter Pan.

Films -- Live-Action

  • Several B-movies involving large crocodiles haunting sewers or mountain lakes, expecially Lake Placid.
  • Alligator is basically Jaws, but with a giant alligator.
  • Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom: The climax of the movie has the villain devoured alive by crocodiles.
  • In the 007 movie Live and Let Die, we have James Bond about to be fed alive to crocodiles. Of course nobody stays there to watch him die so James simply runs over them!
    • Trope comes to play again in Octopussy, as Bond and a bad guy are attacked by a crocodile when their fight becomes waterbound.
  • After the tourist boat crashes in Hatchet, one of the tourists is attacked by an alligator.
  • Australian film Rogue has bunch of tourists getting stranded on small islet in the middle of a river and being under attack by huge crocodile. There's even the trope naming song playing during the end credits.
  • Crazy hotel owner in Eaten Alive feeds customers to his pet crocodile Rocky.
  • Dark Age has a giant crocodile terrorizing Australian outback.
  • The MacGuffin in Romancing the Stone is temporarily lost when a crocodile swallows it along with Big Bad's hand.
  • The titular monster in Dino Croc was a mix of Sarcosuchus (an extinct species of large crocodilian) and an unspecified dinosaur. In practice it was basically a Spinosaurid dinosaur that swam like a crocodile.
  • When the monsoon floods Alan's house in Jumanji, the protagonists are attacked by a crocodile, so Alan fights it and miraculously survives. It's sucked out into the street when the front door is broken up and swims past Carl, scaring him to no end.
  • In Adaptation, John Laroche is killed by an alligator that comes out of nowhere.
  • The Chinese film Million Dollar Crocodile features a giant man-eating crocodile swallowing a purse full of money ala Kangaroo Jack
  • In Rampage, Lizzie is far more dangerous than George or Ralph, probably because they only inhaled the mutagenic chemical, while Lizzie swallowed an entire canister of it.


  • Peter Pan has the large sea crocodile who ate Captain Hook's hand and now is looking for the rest of the dish. The Trope Namer is a Cut Song from the Disney version, which showed up in a Disney Sing-Along Songs video (specifically Volume 6: Under the Sea).
    • In the film Hook he's killed and turned in a clock tower, but comes back to life just in time to fall on Captain Hook and eat him whole.
  • In the novel Amazon at one point the heroes have to face two colossal caimans in a lake.
  • In one of the Grail Quest books, the final opponent is the dreaded Alligatoad.
  • Blacksad: The hired killer in the third book is a gavial.
  • The Very Hungry Crocodile, by Roald Dahl.
  • The Mugger of Mugger-Ghaut in Rudyard Kipling's Second Jungle Book story "The Undertakers". The accompanying poem "A Ripple Song" demonstrates what happens when you don't watch out for concealed crocs.
    • Also in Just So Stories, a crocodile pulls the baby elephant's nose (thereby creating its trunk) in "The Elephant's Child".
  • One of the Alex Rider novels, Crocodile Tears, has the villain force Alex to hang from a bar while a group of crocodiles wait below, ready to eat Alex when he eventually tires and drops.
    • Earlier than that, in Skeleton Key a gang of black-marketeers attempt to blackmail the Big Bad, so he tricks them into crashing their plane into a swamp, where they are attacked by crocodiles.
  • In Carl Hiaasen's Tourist Season, several characters are eaten by a North American crocodile named Pavlov.
  • Crocodile Beat
  • Averted in Lyle, Lyle Crocodile
  • Averted in Zack's Alligator

Live-Action TV

  • In an episode of The X-Files, Mulder and Scully were hunting The Stock Ness Monster but it turned out to be just an everyday, run of the mill killer crocodile, but at the end of the episode, it is revealed that the monster is real, but it's not a threat.
  • In an episode of Bones, the heroes found the Victim of the Week by finding a foot inside a gator in the Florida Everglades.
  • In Red Dwarf, Ace Rimmer's Nazi enemy has a crocodile for a pet, keeping it on his lap and stroking it affectionately, parodying Blofeld's Right-Hand-Cat. He throws it at Ace and jumps out of the plane they're on, but Ace overpowers it and proceeds to "surf" on it in free fall.
  • The BBC's Prehistoric Park docu-fiction features host Nigel Marven traveling back in time and setting an elaborate (but truthfully realistic) trap and successfully corralling a Deinosuchus (a 10.6 meter cretaceous crocodilian) into a time portal to the present so it can be kept in the park. Later Nigel is being chased by an escaped T-Rex and intentionally runs through the Deinosuchus habitat so it will attack the T-rex.


  • In Egyptian Mythology, Sobek is a complex example. He could be quite benevolent at times, but also quite vengeful and brutal at other times. Egyptologists consider this to be that fact that he was associated with the Nile, which both provided water and irrigation but could also flood and drown people. Modern portrayals, however, mostly cast him as the villain.
    • There is also the demoness Ammit, who had the head of a crocodile (amongst body parts from other dangerous African animals). Her job was to devour souls found unworthy of eternal life when weighed against the feather of Ma'at.
  • The Wani in Japanese lore are huge sea dragons resembling crocodiles. The daughter of Ryuujin Otohime reverted to her Wani form after giving birth to the emperor.
  • In some Aztec myths, the world was made from the corpse of a gigantic crocodile-like monster who ate Tezcalipoca's leg.
  • One piece of Christian imagery is people attacked by a crocodile — the crocodile representing Hell, and its victims sinners.

Tabletop Games

  • The various editions of Dungeons & Dragons have had both regular size and giant crocodiles.
    • Module U2 Danger at Dunwater. The PCs can encounter ordinary crocodiles as wandering monsters in the marshes. It's possible that the PCS may be sent to kill a giant crocodile that's been threatening the lizard men.
    • Module EX1 Dungeonland. If the PCs go around the Pool of Tears, they'll be attacked by a giant crocodile.
    • One of the worst examples is the Oblivion Maw in the Forgotten Realms, a gigantic crocodile lurking around White Plume Mountain. Anything eaten by it ends up in the Swamp of Oblivion (part of the Paraelemental Plane of Ooze) but should anyone actually want to go to that place, there are far safer methods.
  • Some of Chaosium's Basic Roleplaying System games had crocodiles.
    • Stormbringer had both small and large crocodilians. The PCs could encounter them if they went through "The Hall of Risk" adventure in the Stormbringer Companion supplement.
    • Call of Cthulhu (tabletop game) had crocodiles of all sizes. They could be encountered as wandering monsters in the "Valley of the Four Shrines" adventure in The Second Cthulhu Companion supplement.

Video Games

  • In Titan Quest, the Nile river banks in Egypt are overrun with massive Croc men, which are one of the toughest monsters around.
  • In Final Fantasy I, there are Crocodiles and White Crocodiles in the rivers, and they're quite powerful.
    • They're in Final Fantasy IV as well, in the sewers and water caves.
  • In one of Tarzan video games, crocodiles appears as enemies. In another one, a really gigantic croc is a boss fight.
  • Will Rock has crocodiles in Greece met in underwater. Oddly enough, they don't chase you on the ground.
  • There's a gargantuan, virus-mutated alligator in the sewers in Resident Evil 2, and another one in the Raccoon Zoo in Outbreak File #2. Crocodiles appear as enemies in the swamp level in Resident Evil 5, but they aren't mutated, just very large. Did I mention that both kinds can kill your player character in one bite?
  • Albino Ghoul Alligators are met in the sewers of New York in Vampire: The Masquerade Redemption. And boy, they're TOUGH!
  • The Crocodog enemy in Dragon Quest VIII is a giant, floating crocodile.
  • Pokémon Gold and Silver has Totodile, which evolves into Feraligatr, a 7-foot-tall bipedal crocodile implied to eat people. Pokémon Black and White has a Caiman Pokémon.
  • The Daedroths from The Elder Scrolls are large, demons with crocodilian heads.
  • In Drakensang 2: The River of Time, the party meet Eilif Thunderfist, who has a small troop of Marus (read: Giant armored humanoid gators]] who serves as her bodyguard. They're described in game as powerful but not too smart, and are brainwashed by the enemy sorceress, forcing you to kill them.
  • Subverted with Croc, as he is the hero.
  • The Kremlings, the principal baddies of the Donkey Kong Country series games, are more or less anthropomorphic crocodiles.
  • Some Egyptian stages in Crash Bandicoot 3: Warped has pits with crocodiles jumping from them.
  • Castle Daventry has a crocodile filled moat in the original version of King's Quest I. In the remake, these have been replaced by serpentine "moat monsters".
  • Boss of the sewer level in Alundra 2 is a crocodile with a poison gas spewing mushroom growing out of its back.
  • In Disney's Where's My Water?, this is subverted by the friendly nice guy Swampy, and played straight by the grumpy Jerkass Cranky.
  • Vector the Crocodile is another subversion. He may be loud, bossy, and rude, but he's a good guy at heart, often taking cases for free.
  • What, no mention of Pitfall?[context?]
  • In Dwarf Fortress crocodiles and alligators are fairly nasty, but normally just lie in ambush until the food presents itself. They are also domesticable, and often end up bred as source of valuable materials (especially Cave crocodile), as guard beasts (you can't train them like war dogs, but at their size, there's not much need) and for producing lots of eggs. Goblins also sometimes breed cave crocs, and use them as mounts.

Western Animation

  • Croc, the main villain on The Wuzzles.
  • On Futurama, as Fry and Leela jump a lunar ridge on a lunar rover, crocodiles underneath snap at them. Wearing air helmets. Don't ask what the point is, it's just funny.
  • One episode of Two Stupid Dogs involved the dogs, a Tarzan impersonator and a robotic crocodile, plus many attempts to avoid it while swinging across the chasm.
  • In the pilot episode of Johnny Bravo, Johnny managed to wrestle and beat a live crocodile while trying to hit on a woman. That was before Badass Decay came along....
  • Jonny Quest has at least two examples:
    • "Treasure of the Temple". While being pursued along an underground river, the Quest team is attacked by crocodiles. Race Bannon has to fight one to rescue Jonny. Then several of them attack the villains, with nightmarish screaming.
    • Turu the Terrible. While traveling along a jungle river, a boat is attacked by crocodiles. They're kept off only by gunfire.
  • In Archer, when Lana and Archer are protecting an oil pipeline in the middle of the Everglades from a radical environmentalist, it's revealed that Archer is afraid of being eaten by crocodiles, and of course one attacks them, their boat capsizes and they lose all their weapons and are stranded on the oil rig in the middle of no where waiting for the croc to eat them.
  • In The Simpsons, when the whole town is brainwashed and forced to join a cult, Marge tries to leave, but has to overcome a lot of obstacles, including hounds, mines and a river full of crocodiles.
    • Averted in the episode 'Kill the Alligator and Run.' The eponymous alligator, named Captain Jack, is quite docile, friendly, and loved by the locals. His death due to Homer's stupidity causes trouble for the family in Florida.
  • In one episode of The Perils of Penelope Pitstop, Penelope is standing on a floor whose halves slowly separate. Below is a crocodile eager to devour her.
  • Lest we forget the aversion with Wally Gator from Hanna-Barbera.
  • A rucurring enime from My Gym Partner's a Monkey is a crocodile who keeps showing up after the Jungle Man episode.
  • Averted in Sitting Ducks by Aldo, the protagonist's best friend. Of course almost all the other Alligators play this completely straight, and devour the ducks from Ducktown whenever they can. It's Aldo's refusal to do this, and his forbidden friendship with Bill that forms the central plot of the series.
  • Also averted with Roger from The Penguins of Madagascar.

Real Life

  • Australia, land of Everything Trying to Kill You, has the saltwater crocodile, the largest reptile in existence. It can be found 200 miles out at sea. Yes, it eats sharks.
  • The Florida Everglades.
  • Gustave, a semi-legendary crocodile in Africa who may have killed upwards of 300 people. And Nile crocodiles in general, really. Because they were revered by ancient Egyptians for thousands of years, and it was punishable by death to even touch one, the crocs got wise, and are now one of the few species of animals that will deliberately stalk, hunt, and eat humans with direct intent as opposed to incidentally. Essentially, the Egyptians smiled at the crocodiles for so long, the crocs are smiling back.
  • Deinosuchus, a 40-foot-long alligator of ancient times.
    • And don't forget Sarcosuchus Imperator!
  • There are several Urban Legends regarding gators in the sewers.
  • Crocodilians nowadays are reduced to a mere 23 species of water dwellers that mostly feed on fish, with a handful of species being large and powerful enough to tackle large prey. However, their extinct relatives are far more diverse, and some even more threatening. We have the terrestrial "boar-croc" Kaprosuchus; the terrestrial Sebecids, able to compete with theropod dinosaurs (and surviving up until far more recently); the Raiusuchians, who invented the Tyrannosaurus Rex look while dinosaurs were still chasing bugs (and even came close to it in size); the marine Metriorhynchids, of whom one of them was nicknamed "Godzilla" for good reason... Add to that animals that made their living as giant browsers and filter-feeding whales far before those existed, and you have an incredibly impressive and diverse group.
  • The Spinosaurid group of dinosaurs sufficiently invoke the crocodilian imagery: their heads and jaws are remarkably similar to those of crocodiles, and paleontologists agree that a significant part of their diet consisted of very large cretaceous fish. One genus's name, Suchomimus, even means "crocodile imitator".
    • By that token, mosasaurs and to a lesser extent pliosaurs superficially resembled fully aquatic oceanic crocodiles, although they weren't even Archosaurs.