what is the difference between an aligator and a croc?

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  • 1 decade ago
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    The first difference between a crocodile and an alligator is that they are from different families of crocodilians. Crocodiles are from the crocodylidae family, while alligators and caiman are from the alligatoridae family.

    In terms of physical differences the easiest way to tell the difference between the two is that a crocodile has a very long, narrow, V-shaped snout, while the alligator's snout is wider and U-shaped. Because of the wide snout of the alligator it packs more crushing power to eat prey like turtles that constitute part of its diet. The narrow crocodile snout, although still very powerful, is not really suited for prey like turtles but is very versatile for fish and mammals.

    Another physical difference between the crocodile and the alligator is that the crocodile's upper and lower jaws are nearly the same width, so the teeth are exposed all along the jaw line in an interlocking pattern, even when the mouth is closed. They also have an enormous 4th tooth on the lower jaw that is accommodated by depressions in the upper jaw just behind the nostrils.

    An alligator, on the other hand, has a wider upper jaw, so when its mouth is closed the teeth in the lower jaw fit into sockets of the upper jaw, hidden from view. Only the teeth of the upper jaw are exposed along the lower jaw line. Even the enormous 4th tooth on the bottom jaw, which is exposed in a crocodile, is hidden in the alligator.

    Another physical difference is that crocodiles have a lighter olive brown coloration, while alligators appear blackish. Alligators also prefer freshwater while crocodiles like brackish water and sometimes even ocean.

    Speaking to this difference, while crocodiles and alligators both have glands on their tongues, crocodiles still use these glands to excrete excess salt. Alligators seem to have lost this ability, making their tolerance for salt water comparatively brief. Biologists believe this suggests that the crocodile is less removed from its oceanic ancestry.

    Both crocodiles and alligators have dotted sensory pits along the upper and lower jaws that look almost like beard stubble. They detect slight changes in water pressure, thought to help the animals locate prey. These sensory pits were called Integumentary Sense Organs (ISOs) until they were renamed to Dermal Pressure Receptors (DPRs). While both animals have them along the jaws, the crocodile has one on every scale covering its entire body. Some researchers believe the crocodile's DPRs might be linked to detecting levels of salinity.

    It is generally stated that alligators are docile compared to aggressive saltwater crocodiles, and that crocodiles grow larger. While true in general, there are exceptions to every rule among the many species. As an example, the average alligator grows to about 14 feet (4.3 meters), while crocodiles can reach 19 feet (5.8 meters) or more. That said there is one species of crocodile - the African dwarf - that barely reaches 5 feet (1.5 meters). Also, the Indian mugger crocodile has a decidedly U-shaped snout, breaking the V-shaped rule.

    In terms of nesting, crocodiles lay their eggs in mud or sand nests near brackish water, while alligators make their nests out of mounds of vegetation surrounding freshwater.

  • Anonymous
    1 decade ago

    Most notable, teeth, you can see a crocs teeth when it's mouth is shut. Then the nose, rounded on a gator. Then coloration, gators are dark. Some crocs survive in saltwater, not all. The Nile crocs never gets in to saltwater.

    Crocodilian Internet Resources

    www.flmnh.ufl.edu/natsci/herpetology/brittoncrocs/cir.html

    Source(s): I am biologist, have worked with alligators.
  • 1 decade ago

    one lives in freshwater the other lives in saltwater

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