The difference between crocodile and alligator

  • Share This
Ricky Joseph

It is not uncommon that some species of animals are constantly confused with each other. This confusion is largely due to the similarities that each carries with it. With this in mind, understand better about the difference between crocodile and alligator.

A priori, it is important to bear in mind that the disparities go far beyond physical characteristics, since the animals in question belong to distinct families, although both are reptiles belonging to the order Crocodylia .

Difference between crocodile and alligator

The primary difference between crocodile and alligator is that while the former belongs to the family Crocodylidae, the latter is from the family Alligatoridae. With this information, it is clear that crocodile and alligator are not the same animal, although they share many physical characteristics that resemble each other.

Nile crocodile.

Thus, the crocodile is predominant in Africa and India, Southeast Asia and northern Australia, while its "close cousin", the alligator, is found in all three Americas, especially South and North America, as well as eastern China.

Another relevant difference between crocodile and alligator that can be used as a parameter to distinguish which animal we are talking about is size. If on the one hand the size of the crocodile varies from 2 to 7 meters long; on the other hand, the alligator usually does not exceed 4.5 meters. However, depending on the species, this number changes a little more or less.

A marsh alligator.

When it comes to weight, the crocodile is considerably heavier. Generally speaking, the crocodile weighs between 40 kilos and 1 tonne, while the alligator weighs between 35 and 230 kilos.

Main characteristics

In an observation situation or whatever, the main characteristics of the animals are determinant for their identification. That said, another relevant difference between crocodile and alligator is that the crocodile has the lower canine tooth exposed out of the closed mouth, with the 80 teeth collaborating for one of the most powerful bites on Earth. In addition, their hooves areextremely hard and resistant, its snout is V-shaped.

The caiman, however, has a wide and short head, its snout is U-shaped. The fourth lower tooth, on both sides of its mouth, retracts into the upper jaw when the mouth closes. Moreover, it has a swimming membrane between the toes of its hind legs, being easily identified.

Crocodiles, alligators and birds are considered to be the closest relatives of dinosaurs. The first animals of the order Crocodylia arose approximately 80 million years ago.

It is worth noting that alligators prefer to live in freshwater environments such as swamps, rivers, lakes, ponds and even brackish environments. Crocodiles, however, are more tolerant of salt water and live in ponds, islands, rivers, mangroves, lakes and rivers.

Hunting methods

Crocodiles and alligators are large and tough animals, which makes them "successful" predators. The alligator, even though it does not have good eyesight in the water, is highly receptive to vibrations; so it is strategic and hunts well at night on land.

The crocodile, however, is not faster than the alligator, but its enormous size is preponderant. Its hunting method is the ambush: it waits for its prey to approach and then surprises it with the attack, easily effected with the power of its jaw. it usually attacks without much provocation, as it is territorialist. Unlike the alligator, which attacks when it feels threatened and tends to flee whennot sure if the attack was successful.

In this scenario, another difference between crocodile and alligator is that the crocodile is more aggressive than the alligator and has a greater bite force - if they were to be confronted, the crocodile would certainly have more of an advantage. Similarly, the crocodile poses a greater and fatal threat to man than the alligator.

Ricky Joseph is a seeker of knowledge. He firmly believes that through understanding the world around us, we can work to better ourselves and our society as a whole. As such, he has made it his life's mission to learn as much as he can about the world and its inhabitants. Joseph has worked in many different fields, all with the aim of furthering his knowledge. He has been a teacher, a soldier, and a businessman - but his true passion lies in research. He currently works as a research scientist for a major pharmaceutical company, where he is dedicated to finding new treatments for diseases that have long been considered incurable. Through diligence and hard work, Ricky Joseph has become one of the foremost experts on pharmacology and medicinal chemistry in the world. His name is known by scientists everywhere, and his work continues to improve the lives of millions.