Alligator or Crocodile?

If you are like most, you know what crocodiles and alligators are but don’t have any idea of the gap between them or which is which. You might find this interesting. I know I did.

Alligator Head

In The U.S. crocodiles are found in just one region — southern Florida. Alligators also make south Florida home but they are available in several different states, though mostly from the southeast. South Florida is the only place known in the world where crocs and gators cohabitate in the same location.

The simplest way to distinguish a gator from a croc is by the color. Crocodiles will typically have a lighter, olive brown color while alligators tend to have darker, almost black skin. Crocodile pockets will reveal this color difference by their lighter, almost golden hue. Alligators prefer to maintain a freshwater environment while crocs prefer to be in brackish water and occasionally will even venture into the ocean.

While similar in many ways, these two reptiles are actually from different families. Alligators belong to a family called’Alligatoridae’, while Gators are out of the’Crocodylidae’ family. They both have huge and powerful jaws that can do considerable damage.

These are primitive beasts and have existed on earth for some 200 million years and have remained relatively unchanged in that time. It’s amazing to realize that in the short span of a single individual’s life these animals were hunted into near extinction. Between the years of 1900 and 1967 these reptiles were nearly wiped off the face of the earth. Endangered species legislation helped prevent this from happening but it’s still a problem in some areas of the world. Luckily, the American alligator has been removed from the endangered species list through conservation efforts. The crocs, however, are still at risk.

There are other ways to tell the difference between crocs and gators, such as the way the teeth are arranged. When his mouth is fully closed it is still possible to see both rows of a crocodile’s teeth and they interlock with each other perfectly. You can only see the top teeth when an alligator closes his mouth because the reduced set disappears into sockets at the mouth.

The manufacture and sale of accessories made from alligator hide was booming recently. This is partly due to huge farms in Southeast Asia grow these animals with the goal of earning alligator wallets, belts, shoes and bags.