8 Difference Between Alligator and Crocodile (With Table)

Alligators and crocodiles look similar. Most people confuse them and they refer to them interchangeably. They do share many of the features but they are different. Crocodiles are more aggressive and run after their prey and attack instantly than alligators. This makes crocodiles more dangerous than alligators.

So, what is the difference between alligators and crocodiles? Crocodiles are more aggressive and dangerous while alligators are less aggressive making them be less dangerous.

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Comparison Table (Alligator vs Crocodile)

Characteristics Alligators Crocodile
The shape of the snout The snout is wide and u-shaped. The snout is pointed and V-shaped.
Geographical location They are found in parts of the USA and China. They are found across the world.
Habitat They prefer freshwater bodies. They prefer salty water bodies.
Jawline They have a wide upper jaw which allows teeth to remain hidden in the mouth. The upper and lower jaw are the same in size hence exposing their teeth.
Size They are comparatively smaller in body size. They are large in body size.
Color They are darker in color. They are lighter in color.
Speed They are fast both in water and land. They are slower both on land and in water.
Behavior They are less aggressive. They are more aggressive.
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What is Alligator?

Alligator is a crocodilian in the family Alligatoridae. There are two species of alligators. These include American and Chinese alligators. The Chinese alligator is smaller than the American alligator. They are black or dark olive-brown with a white underside.

They are native to the USA and China. They live in freshwater bodies. They construct alligator holes in the wetlands which increase plant diversity and provide habitat for other animals during drought. Large alligators feed extensively on coypu and provide vital ecological service by reducing coypu numbers.

Large male alligators are territorial animals. They are timid towards humans and tend to walk or swim away from them. The muscles that open their jaws are weak but those that close the jaws are strong hence if they hold their prey it cannot easily come out.

What is a Crocodile?

Crocodiles are large semiaquatic animals that live throughout Africa, Asia, America, and Australia. There are 16 species of crocodiles. It has a streamlined body that allows it to swim in the water. They have webbed feet that allow them to make fast turns in the water.

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They show sexual dimorphism, with males growing much larger and more rapidly than females. They have the ability to replace each of their teeth up to 50 times in a 35–75-year span.  They have an acute sense that makes them successful predators.

They have very good night vision and they are nocturnal animals. They are ambush predators. They wait for fish or land animals to come closer then run to attack them. They garb and hold on to their prey. They have sharp teeth for piercing and holding on to flesh. They also have powerful muscles to close the jaw.

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Main Differences between Alligator and Crocodile

  1. Alligators have wide and U-shaped snout while crocodiles have pointed and V-shaped snout.
  2. Alligators prefer to live in freshwater bodies while crocodiles prefer to live in salty water bodies.
  3. Alligators have a wider upper jaw which allows teeth to remain covered while crocodiles have upper jaw and lower jaw which are the same in size hence their teeth cannot remain covered.
  4. Alligators are less aggressive while crocodiles are more aggressive.
  5. Alligators move fast both in water and on land while crocodiles move slowly both in water and on land.
  6. Alligators are comparatively small in body size while crocodiles are larger in body size.
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Similarities between Alligator and Crocodile

  1. They are both semiaquatic animals.
  2. They are both carnivores.
  3. They both have strong teeth and jaws for tearing flesh.
  4. They have the same color of skin.

In Conclusion

Alligators and crocodiles are often confused but they are completely different. Alligators prefer to live in freshwater bodies while crocodiles prefer to live in salty water bodies. Crocodiles are more aggressive while alligators are less aggressive. The main feature that makes the alligator different from the crocodile is the behavior.

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