In wildlife, crocodile and alligator are very popular and interesting animals for humans. There are many similarities between Crocodiles and alligators. But what are the real differences between them? Here is a interesting trivia for you, all alligators are crocodiles, but not all crocodiles are alligators. Sounds little confusing ? The real truths lie in the details. Here is a comparison between alligators and crocodiles.
There are three groups (families) of crocodilians. The alligatoridae, which includes the alligator and the caimans. The crocodylidae, which includes the “true” crocodiles. And the gavialidae, which contains only the gharial.
- The alligatoridae – alligator and the caimans
- The crocodylidae – crocodiles
- The gavialidae – gharial
So, the first difference is that alligators and crocodiles are actually in different families.
Differences in Physical characteristics
Alligators have a wide “U”-shaped, rounded snout (like a shovel).And crocodiles have long, narrow, V-shaped snouts.
The upper and lower jaws of the crocodile are essentially the same width, and so teeth in the lower jaw fit along the margin of the upper jaw when the mouth is closed. Their teeth exposed in an interlocking pattern.
In alligators, the upper jaw is wider than the lower jaw and completely overlaps it. The teeth in the lower jaw are almost completely hidden when the mouth closes.
Alligators can often reach at least 14 or 15 feet in length, which is larger than some crocodile species, but not others. The largest crocodile species is the saltwater crocodile, which can get to at least 17 or 18 feet – some rare individuals exceeding 20 feet after many years.
Differences in Color
Crocodile have a coloration that is an Olive green/brown. And alligators usually have a Blackish/grey appearance.
Differences in Location, Behavior and Habitat
Crocodiles and alligators are found in different locations around the globe. Crocodiles live in parts of North, Central, and South America, and can be found in areas of Africa, Australia, and the southeast part of Asia. Alligators are native in the eastern section of China and the southern area of the United States. Alligators prefer freshwater while crocodiles can better tolerate brackish water. Some people say that crocodiles are more aggressive than alligators, and this is true of some species.