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. All Nile Crocodiles have green eyes. Males can grow to be up to 16 feet long and weigh 730 kilograms.
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".
In Follow the Leader, when there is a dispute over buffalo sharing the waterhole, Simba instructs Zazu to tell the buffalo that if they don't share the waterhole, they will have to move to the river. Zazu gasps and reminds Simba that there are crocodiles in the river. Simba smiles and tells Zazu that he knows.
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.
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 Makuu are the only crocodiles who can be considered antagonists.
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.
Order Crocodylia is known for having the most advanced hearts of all living beings on Earth, except for possibly sea turtles.
Crocodiles as seen in "I Just Can't Wait to Be King" (Special Edition version)