Big Animals

What is the difference between an alligator and a crocodile?

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Alligators and crocodiles look pretty similar, so it might be hard to believe there's any difference between them at all. However, if you know what to look for, telling them apart can actually be pretty easy!

One easy-to-spot difference has to do with the shape of their jaws. Alligators have a rounded U-shaped jaw, while crocs have a more pointed V-shape. Their teeth are different too -- an alligator's teeth don't really show when its mouth is closed, while crocodiles' teeth have a special interlocking pattern that does show, plus a large tooth on their lower jaw that sticks out over their top lip even when their mouths are shut.

These two big creatures also live in generally different places -- gators prefer fresh water habitats, while crocs usually live in salty water!

Of course, there are a few exceptions to these rules among the different types of these animals and their relatives. But if you're ever at the zoo and not sure what you're looking at, see if you can use these differences in appearance to figure it out!

by Alli Rodenhauser (Whyzz writer)

Exploration

Blast from the past!

Did you know scientists believe that crocodiles have been on Earth since back when there were dinosaurs?! When you look at a picture of a crocodile and a drawing of a dinosaur, can you think of some ways in which they look similar? What about some ways that they look different? What crocodile features have you learned about that you think might have allowed them to survive, even when dinosaurs went extinct??

Sources

Reptiles: Alligator & Crocodile. AnimalBytes. The San Diego Zoo.