Tim van de Vall

The Difference Between Alligators and Crocodiles


Though alligators and crocodiles are different species, people tend to have a hard time telling them apart. In this article, you can learn about the difference between alligators and crocodiles, as well as about what they have in common. Additionally, I have created a venn diagram on the topic, which may be useful for students who are researching this topic.

Alligators and Crocodiles are both members of an animal group called Crocodilians. There are 24 species of crocodilians: 14 crocodiles, 6 caimans, 2 alligators, and 1 gharial. (The gharial is a crocodilian native to India.)

Below you will find a venn diagram that explain the similarities and differences between alligators and crocodiles. To download a high res version of this image, click the venn diagram below. The larger version will load in your browser. Right-click on it and press “Save Image As…” to save it to your computer.

difference between alligators and crocodiles

Alligators

  • Dark gray or black color
  • When an alligator’s mouth is closed, only the top teeth are visible
  • Wide head and wide “U” shaped snout
  • Has sensor pits only on head
  • Lays about 45 eggs
  • Builds nest above ground
  • Live in North America and eastern China

Crocodiles

  • Tan or greenish gray skin
  • When a crocodile’s mouth is closed, both the top and bottom teeth are visible
  • Have a narrow head and a long snout
  • Has sensor pits all over body
  • Lays about 50 eggs
  • Builds nest under ground
  • Live in North America, Africa, Asia and Australia

Both:

  • Both are reptiles
  • Carnivores
  • Have about 60 teeth
  • Cold-blooded
  • Can stay underwater for up to 2 hours
  • Can swim up to 6 miles an hour
  • Nocturnal
  • Never stop  growing over the course of their lives, but growing slows down as they get older

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