Crocodiles are characters and species featured in The Lion King franchise. They serve as background characters in the animated Disney film, The Lion King, and have a more pronounced role in its sequel.
The crocodiles that appear in the franchise are most likely Nile crocodiles, a species of crocodile that resides in Africa. Like other variations of its species, Nile crocodiles have short legs, long tails, and scaly hides. Their coloration ranges from dark green to brownish-bronze.
Crocodiles are briefly seen during the musical number "I Just Can't Wait to Be King" during the line "Let's hear it in the herd and on the wing", where they open their mouths to reveal birds inside.
When Kiara wanders into the Outlands, she meets an Outsider cub named Kovu. Whilst talking, the two unknowingly walk over a bridge of crocodiles. As the fearsome creatures instigate an attack, the young lions race away in fear. The cubs barely manage to escape by climbing up a thin tree branch, but eventually make it to dry land and taunt the crocodiles from the top of a cliff. They are later seen in "Upendi".
After Simba dares Timon to jump over a rushing river, Timon misses and is carried by the force of the river. The current takes him to a waterfall, where he grabs onto a branch hanging over the waterfall to keep from plummeting to his death. In the pond below, two hungry crocodiles wait for Timon to fall so they can eat him. Timon loses his grip on the tree branch and falls in. Luckily, Simba helps him to shore just in time before the crocodiles can get to him.
Crocodiles have been featured in numerous episodes in The Lion Guard. In this series, crocodiles also have a competition known as a "Mashindano" where one crocodile challenges another one to know who retains current leadership during battle. The crocodile that loses during a Mashindano is banished from the float and the winning crocodile gains its leadership.
- The crocodiles are in their original shape in the 1994 release, but are redesigned in the IMAX/Special Edition version.
- Despite their fearsome reputation, crocodiles are mainly perceived as good guys in The Lion King franchise. Riptail and Kiburi are the only crocodiles who can be considered antagonists. Makuu was an antagonistic crocodile since the first season of The Lion Guard, but was reformed since the second season.
- In some versions of "I Just Can't Wait to be King," the crocodiles are colored gray instead of green. The gray crocodile edit was featured from the 1995 VHS release, the Disney Sing-Along Songs version (1994-2003), the premiere on ABC, and the 2003 Special Edition release.
- The crocodiles from The Lion King II: Simba's Pride resemble the crocodiles from The Rescuers Down Under, albeit different in species.
- One of the questions in the Who Wants to Be King of the Jungle game erroneously calls the reptile Kovu is standing on as an alligator instead of a crocodile. Alligators are restricted to the Americas and China in real life and possibly, the correct possible correction for the reptile that Kovu stands on is a crocodile. In addition, alligators have a U-shaped snout while crocodiles have a V-shaped snout, making both reptiles in the same order (Crocodilia) of crocodilians different.
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