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Home > Science > Comparing and Contrasting Alligators and Reptiles

Comparing and Contrasting Alligators and Reptiles

This articles describes the differences and similarities between alligators and crocodiles
American Alligator American Crocodile

Alligators and crocodiles are two species of reptiles that belong to the order Crocodilia. Despite their similarities, they have several differences that set them apart.

Appearance

One of the main differences between alligators and crocodiles is their physical appearance. Alligators have a broader and shorter snout, while crocodiles have a longer and more V-shaped snout. Additionally, alligators have a rounded, bumpy head while crocodiles have a more triangular-shaped head. Another difference is the position of their eyes and nostrils, which are situated on top of the head in alligators, making it easier for them to see and breathe while mostly submerged, while in crocodiles they are on the side of the head, making it easier for them to see and breathe while mostly on land.

Habitat and Range

Another difference between alligators and crocodiles is their habitat. Alligators are native to the United States and can be found in the southeastern part of the country, specifically in swamps, rivers, and lakes. On the other hand, crocodiles can be found in tropical regions worldwide, including Africa, Australia, and South America.

Attacking Prey

Both alligators and crocodiles are excellent swimmers and are capable of staying underwater for extended periods of time. However, there is a difference in how they hunt. Alligators are ambush predators and will wait for prey to come to them. They then grab it with their powerful jaws and drag it underwater to drown it. Crocodiles, on the other hand, are active hunters and will chase their prey down, overpowering it with their strength and speed.

Size

In terms of size, crocodiles tend to be larger than alligators. Some species of crocodiles can grow up to 20 feet in length and weigh over 1,000 pounds. The largest species of alligator, the American alligator, can grow up to 14 feet in length and weigh around 800 pounds.

Sounds

Lastly, the two species have different vocalizations. Alligators are known for their loud, deep growl, while crocodiles have a more high-pitched scream or hiss.

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