People often mix up crocodiles and alligators because they look similar at first glance. However, they are very different, including their sizes, where they live, and how they act. But both reptiles have unique features that can help you tell them apart. Our goal is to look closely at the differences between the two animals so that you can answer the question, “What’s the difference between alligator and crocodile?” One thing is certain: both are dangerous top predators, but Which is More Aggressive Crocodile or Alligator?
Comparison Between Crocodile and Alligator
- Size: The crocodile is much larger than the alligator. Yet, We do so with some trepidation, as there are only two species of alligators and thirteen species of crocodiles on Earth. At 1.8 meters in length, even the smallest alligator dwarfs even the smallest crocodile (1.7 meters). Although the largest alligator can grow 6 feet long, the largest crocodile can grow 7 feet long (up to 4.5 meters).
- Diets: Fish, birds, turtles, and mammals are alligator and crocodile diets. They feed solely on other animals as apex predators. Alligators and crocodiles occasionally consume fruits. These reptiles are carnivores rather than omnivores due to their irregularity in eating other foods.
- Color: Crocodiles are usually green, gray, brown, or black. Their mottled or speckled pattern blends in with algae and substrate. American alligators are glossy dark green that might appear black in certain lights. It’s darker than crocodiles. Crocodiles prefer algae-rich open water. They are usually greener to match. Alligators live near rivers and lakes. Their hues match mud and substrate.
- Jaws: In an alligator, the large upper jaw overlaps the lower jaw, concealing the lower teeth. Yet, a crocodile’s top and lower jaw are nearly the exact sizes; thus, the animals’ teeth can easily interdigitate.
- Survive: While crocodiles may survive in fresh and saltwater, they are more commonly found in marine environments like the ocean, estuaries, and rivers with mangrove swamps. Crocodiles can stay at sea for extended periods and may travel great distances while swimming. Despite their ability to survive in saltwater for brief durations, alligators prefer lakes and rivers’ cleaner, fresher waters. Similarly, they choose seas that are deeper and murkier.
Which is More Aggressive: Crocodile or Alligator?
Alligators are typically much less aggressive than crocodiles, but both species can be dangerous if provoked. Some zookeepers can clean alligator ponds by treading around the reptiles without evoking any reaction from them. It’s safe to assume that crocodiles will respond aggressively.
Both alligators and crocodiles are reptiles. They have muscular tails, big snouts, and scaly skin. Despite their resemblance, they are different species. Crocodiles live in Africa, Australia, and South America, while alligators live in China and the southeastern United States. Crocodiles live in both freshwater and saltwater, but alligators prefer freshwater. Both species are hazardous and should be respected and studied from a distance. Alligators and crocodiles are wonderful animals that should be protected.
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