Difference Between Similar Terms and Objects

Difference Between Alligator and Crocodile

alligatorIt is not uncommon for people to mistake a crocodile for an alligator. Yet once you learn a bit about them it doesn’t take long to realize that there are several differences between the two. Although they look very similar to each other once you know the differences between the two, it’s not hard to tell them apart.

To begin with, Crocodiles are from the crocodilian family and the alligatoridae family belongs to the alligators.

If you look at the snout on the crocodiles, you will see it looks like a narrow ‘V’ that is very long, while the alligator’s snout has a wider ‘U’-shape. The upper-lower jaw of the crocodile is the same width so their teeth are always exposed even when their mouth is closed. But the upper jaw on the alligator is wider. This means when their mouth is shut the lower jaw teeth slide into the sockets of the upper jaw. This makes it very easy for them to hide all their enormous teeth.

crocodileAnother distinguishing feature between the crocodile and alligator is their color.
Alligators have a more blackish grayish color and crocodiles tend to have a more light tan appearance. In addition, you can tell them apart by their sizes with the crocodiles being the bigger of the two. These guys can range in excess of 19 feet whereas the normal alligator hovers around 14 feet.
Nesting crocodiles favor laying their eggs in mud or nests made from sand situated near brackish water. The Alligator on the other hand will tend to use surrounding vegetation around freshwater to create nesting mounds.

The crocodile uses the glands on their tongues to excrete excess salt. This may tie in with why they favor brackish water. This is water that you would consider to be an in-between of fresh water and salt water and forms in areas around the world naturally.

The alligators have the same glands on their tongues but are not able to excrete the excess salt as the crocodile does. This means that the alligators cannot tolerate the salt water in the same way as the crocodiles.

If one had to choose which they would prefer to confront then probably an alligator would be the better choice. Because the saltwater crocodiles are far more aggressive not to mention their size.

(image credit : flickr)

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  1. Did you know that they are also cold blooded?

    thanks, 🙂



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