Differences between alligator and crocodile
Many people understand the terms alligator and crocodile as synonyms, although one is not talking about the same animals. However, these have very important similarities that clearly differentiate them from another type of reptile: they are truly fast in water, have very sharp teeth and extremely strong jaws and are very intelligent when it comes to ensuring their survival.
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However, there are also significant differencesbetween them that show that it is not the same animal, differences in anatomy, behavior and even the possibility of remaining in one or another habitat.
In this article of YourCatCareguide we explain to you what are the differences between the alligator and the crocodile .
Scientific classification of alligator and crocodile
The term crocodile refers to any species belonging to the family Crocodylidae , however the true crocodiles are those that belong to the order Crocodilia and in this order we can highlight the family Aligatoridae and the family Gavialidae .
The alligators belong to the Aligatoridae family , so the alligators are only one family within the large group of crocodiles, using this term to define a much wider set of species.
If we compare the specimens belonging to the Aligatoridae family with the rest of the species belonging to the other families within the order Crocodilia , we can establish important differences.
Differences in oral cavity
One of the biggest differences between the alligator and the crocodile can be seen on the muzzle. The muzzle of the alligator is wider and its bottom is U-shaped, on the other hand, the muzzle of the crocodile is thinner and in its lower part we can see the shape of V.
There is also an important difference in dental parts and jaw structure . The crocodile has both jaws practically the same size and this allows to observe the lower and upper teeth when the jaw is closed.
On the contrary, the alligator has the lower jaw thinner than the upper jaw and its lower teeth are only visible when the jaw is closed.
Differences in size and color
On several occasions we can compare an adult alligator with a young crocodile and observe that the alligator has larger dimensions, however, comparing two specimens in the same maturity conditions, we observed that crocodiles are generally larger than alligators.
The alligator and crocodile have scales on the skin of a very similar color, but in the crocodile we can see spots and ripples present at the extremities of the crests, a characteristic that the alligator does not have.
Differences in behavior and habitat
The alligator lives exclusively in freshwater areas; on the other hand, the crocodile has specific glands in the buccal cavity that it uses to filter the water , therefore, it is also able to live in saltwater regions, however, it is usual to find some species that are characterized by living in a freshwater habitat despite having these glands.
The behavior of these animals also presents differences, since the crocodile is very aggressive in the nature but the alligator presents less aggressiveness and is less prone to attack humans.