What is the Difference Between Crocodiles and Alligators?

Crocodiles and alligators are fantastic creatures, who truly deserve our respect. While they’re not a great pet reptile, they can be fascinating to look at. And when looking at them, it can be very challenging to tell the difference. But there are some key differences between the two groups.

1. Head Shape

The first difference is the shape of the head. Alligators have a U-shaped jaw when looking at it from above. Instead, crocodiles have a v-shaped head, with a slight indent around the fourth tooth.

2. Their Grin

Another key difference can be seen when the mouth is closed. The fourth tooth is so large in crocodiles that it sits on the outside of the mouth. In alligators, the teeth are completely hidden when the mouth is closed.

3. Size

Size isn’t always the best way to tell the difference. Some crocodiles are smaller than a few alligators. And you could be looking at a small crocodile rather than an alligator. However, typically, crocodiles are larger than alligators, with all the large species being crocodiles.

4. Skeletal Structures

Research has shown that when compared to crocodiles, the forelimbs of alligator species tend to have a shorter humerus bone. The hindlimbs also tend to have a shorter femur.

5. Feet

Alligators have webbed feet, whereas crocodiles have a jagged fringe on their hind legs. This is a small difference that can be hard to see, but when at a zoo, you might want to look for these.

6. Temperament

Alligators tend to be less aggressive than crocodiles. But that isn’t a good reason to pet an alligator if you see one. They can still attack and do a great amount of damage to anyone.

Final Word: What is the Difference Between Crocodiles and Alligators?

There are numerous differences between crocodiles and alligators. Above are six key differences, but it doesn’t matter. Should you be close to one, neither is safe to interact with. Therefore, it’s best to leave them alone.

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