There are a few noticeable differences between alligators and crocodiles, even though their lifestyles are pretty much the same.
Alligators and crocodiles, both commonly known as crocodilians, are some of the most powerful and intriguing creatures on the planet. Found in swampy, humid areas, Crocodilians are cold blooded animals that can only survive in warm weather, usually around eighty degrees.
Differences Between Alligators and Crocodiles
Though similar in appearance, alligators and crocodiles have very noticeable differences. An alligator’s snout is shorter and wider than that of a crocodile. A crocodile’s snout is longer and more narrow. Have you ever noticed their teeth? Well, if you’ve ever noticed some teeth on one of these creatures when their mouth was closed, you were definitely looking at a crocodile! They like to show off their large teeth protruding from their bottom jaw. When an alligator’s mouth is closed, however, none of its teeth are visible.
When it comes to aggressiveness, alligators don’t usually attack humans unless they feel threatened and have to defend their territory. Crocodiles are known to be the more aggressive of the two. The death rate for humans is much higher from crocodile attacks than from alligator attacks. The African Nile crocodile, which can grow from 16-20 feet, has the highest human fatality rate of both.
Characteristics of Crocodilians
Crocodilians’ thick, long, muscular tales, webbed feet, and tough, scaly skin equipt them for life in the water. Their tales and webbed feet make them proficient swimmers, and their tough, scaly skin protect them from dangerous elements in the water. They also have good hearing and smell. A crocodilians’ diet consists of fish, birds, turtles, mammals, rodents, and other creatures. They may even eat their own kind if the hunter is much larger than the hunted!
Unlike humans, crocodilians grow teeth their entire lives. They even shed teeth and have the luxury of other teeth growing back to replace the ones that they lost. Though crocodilians spend a lot of time in the water, it’s not the preferred place to lay their eggs. They build or dig nests near the water. They can lay up to fifty eggs, but many of them will never hatch or reach adulthood. Unfortunately they become the prey of other animals before making it to the water or ever seeing the light of day.
Crocodilians have a very unique way of capturing and eating their prey. They have some of the largest and most powerful jaws of all animals. Their eyes and nostrils are located on the top of their head so that they can hide under the water, while still being able to see and breathe. They swim quietly and swiftly through water, or sneak quietly through grassy areas until they are close enough to their prey to spring in for the kill! They then drag them under the water to drown them, making it easier to finish off their meal.
Where do each live
Crocodile is found across the world while alligators live in the eastern part of China and southeastern part of United States.
In the US alligators have outnumbered crocodiles, which is presently found in the southernmost tip of Florida. The ratio is as such – more than 3 million alligtors live in the US while the number for crocodiles is less than even 2,000.
Crocodiles mostly spend days or weeks at sea while alligators are found in freshwater. The difference in their habitat lies in their special glands found in their tongues.
In crocodiles the glands excrete excess salt from their bodies and this is the reason they can spend weeks at sea. The glands of alligators on the other hand don’t work as such. However, alligators are sometimes also found in the brakish water, which is a mixture of freshwater and salt.
This is the reason crocodiles have spread across the Caribbean islands while alligators have not.
When the mouths of both are closed the lower teeth of alligators are never visible while it is just the opposite for crocodiles. The upper jaw of alligators is wide compared to the lower jaw and so they can hide all the teeth when mouth is closed.
Runs and Swims
On land both the alligators and crocodiles are capable of moving short distances. They can sprint or gallop for shorter time, only when threatened. The maximum speed of crocodile on land is 9 mph while that of alligator is 11 mph.
In water both are fast. Their long and muscular tails help their bodies to propel forward. The maximum swimming speed of crocodile is 9 mph while that of alligator is 20 mph. This means alligators are fast swimmer compared to crocodiles.
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