Last Updated: 20 February 2023

Ah Les crocodiles is a well-known children's rhyme about a crocodile in Egypt, which has been part of the French children's song repertoire since at least 1860.

The story of the song

"Ah les Crocodiles" is a famous children's song about a crocodile living in Egypt who goes to war with elephants on the Nile.

This little song is derived from the Hourra du crocodile (Crocodile's Hooray), from Jacques Offenbach's musical buffoonery, Tromb-al-ca-zar ou les Criminels dramatiques, created in 1856.

Ménagerie du Jardin des Plantes copyright French Moments

A crocodile at the Ménagerie of the Jardin des Plantes © French Moments

Ah Les crocodiles

Lyrics, music, free download... let's learn more about the popular song:

Ah Les crocodiles

The lyrics in French

The original song of Ah Les crocodiles has 5 verses and a chorus.

Couplet 1

Un crocodile, s'en allant à la guerre
Disait au revoir à ses petits enfants
Trainant ses pieds, ses pieds dans la poussière
Il s'en allait combattre les éléphants


Ah ! Les crocrocro, les crocrocro, les crocodiles
Sur les bords du Nil, ils sont partis n'en parlons plus
Ah ! Les crocrocro, les crocrocro, les crocodiles
Sur les bords du Nil, ils sont partis n'en parlons plus

Couplet 2

Il fredonnait une marche militaire
Dont il mâchait les mots à grosses dents
Quand il ouvrait la gueule tout entière
On croyait voir ses ennemis dedans

Couplet 3

Il agitait sa grand’ queue à l’arrière
Comm’ s’il était d’avance triomphant
Les animaux devant sa mine altière
Dans les forêts s’enfuyaient tout tremblants

Couplet 4

Un éléphant parut et sur la terre
Se prépara ce combat de géant
Mais près de là, coulait une rivière
Le crocodile s'y jeta subitement

Couplet 5

Et tout rempli d’une crainte salutaire
S’en retourna vers ses petits-enfants.
Notre éléphant d’une trompe plus fière
Voulut alors accompagner ce chant.

Translation of the lyrics into English

Here is an approximative translation into English:

Verse 1

A crocodile, going to war
Said goodbye to his little children
Dragging his feet, his feet in the dust
He was on his way to fight the elephants


Ah, the crocrocro, the crocrocro, the crocodiles
On the banks of the Nile, they're gone,

Let's not talk about it anymore
Ah, the crocrocro, the crocrocro, the crocodiles
On the banks of the Nile, they're gone,

Let's not talk about it anymore

Verse 2

He hummed a military march
Whose words he chewed with his teeth
When he opened his mouth wide
You'd think you'd see his enemies in it

Verse 3

He wagged his big tail at the back
As if he was triumphant in advance
The animals before his haughty face
In the forest they ran away trembling

Verse 4

An elephant appeared and on the ground
This giant fight was prepared
But close by, a river flowed
The crocodile suddenly jumped into it

Verse 5

And filled with a salutary fear
He returned to his grandchildren.
Our elephant with a prouder trunk
Wanted to accompany this song.

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Ah Les crocodiles © French Moments

French Nursery Rhymes

My challenge for the year 2023 is to publish 80 French Nursery Rhymes lyrics and descriptions (list below). Come back as time goes by to discover the new articles:

About the author

Pierre is a French/Australian who is passionate about France and its culture. He grew up in France and Germany and has also lived in Australia and England. He has a background teaching French, Economics and Current Affairs, and holds a Master of Translating and Interpreting English-French with the degree of Master of International Relations, and a degree of Economics and Management. Pierre is the author of Discovery Courses and books about France.

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