I heard some people saying:

Two crocodiles were flying. One was green, the other was also going to Africa.


Two crocodiles were flying, one was orange, the other turned left.

But I don't understand what that means.


4 Answers 4


They are both deliberately absurd, as they are a type of Russian meta-humour, known in Russia as a "meta-anekdot", as explained in the book "Reflective Laughter: Aspects of Humour in Russian Culture" by Lesley Milne.

This style of humour, of completely absurd narrative or conversation, appears to be very popular in Russia.

  • 2
    Compare with the US: "Time flies like an arrow, fruit flies like a banana."
    – JHCL
    Commented Oct 15, 2015 at 15:35
  • 1
    @JHCL I'd consider that more of a pun though. The "two crocodile" jokes have no link between the first and second phrases, other than that they're both talking about crocodiles. Commented Oct 15, 2015 at 15:44
  • See my comment to the question. There was an original joke which was 'funny'; in its own right. These two examples seem to be 'riffs' on that theme, likely to appeal only to those familiar with the absurd original and taking it to an impenetrable extreme. I'd liken it to modern 'internet memes' (Here is an edited picture of Nicolas Cage. Your argument is invalid).
    – JHCL
    Commented Oct 15, 2015 at 15:51

I am a software developer, and one of my colleagues from Ukraine likes to use this joke as an example of illogical categorization.

It would be a logical categorization to say that there were two crocodiles, one green and the other yellow, or that one was flying to Africa and the other flying to Europe. But, the grouping of two crocodiles one green and the other flying to Africa is an illogical grouping.

Another point is: While it may seem reasonable to infer that only one crocodile is green and only one is flying to Africa, this isn't actually what it says. They could both be green and both flying to Africa.


Those are "logical problems".Two crocodiles were flying. The first was orange. The second turned left. How old is the wet hedgehog? Or How old is your parrot? How much does a kilo of potatoes weigh if you buy them at the market? The answers are:1.The wet hedgehog is the same age when it's dry...

  • Hi V.V., can you please explain the parrot joke in your answer?
    – Lawrence
    Commented Jul 19, 2017 at 16:25

The first looks like a one-liner joke incorporating a pun. The word "green" may be understood literally as the colour (green crocodile), or figuratively as an anthropomorphism for feeling airsick. The joke may be read as saying that two crocodiles were flying to Africa (presumably in a plane) when one of them felt airsick. The humour comes from the change in how the word "green" is understood as the second sentence is read.

I'm unsure about the second, but this link indicates that orange smoke is an officially sanctioned distress signal, so it may be a more technical version of the same joke.

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