They make look similar, but alligators and crocodiles are not exactly the same, even though they both come from, what’s called, the Crocodilia order.
There are differences in their snout size, colour, shape, hunting habits, etc.
The very first things to notice as a big difference is the shape of the snout.
Alligators have a broad and U-shaped snout – while crocodiles have a narrower and V-shaped one.
Then you should look at the teeth.
In Alligators, the lower teeth are normally not seen when their mouths are closed. In crocodiles you can see some teeth in the bottom jaw with thier mouths closed.
Alligators are black or grey on top with a cream-colored underbelly , while crocodiles are more olive or brown. Crocodiles are typically more aggressive than gators.
The males are larger in both the alligator and the crocodile, but overall the crocodile is a much more giant reptile than the alligator.
Alligators prefer to live in freshwater environments such as marshes, rivers, lakes, wetlands, and ponds whereas crocodiles prefer salt water, and they mostly live in lagoons, islands, rivers, mangrove swamps, lakes, and rivers.
Diet and eating habits
Since crocodiles live in and around saltwater they have more access to prey than alligators.
Also, alligators do not have great sight in the water but they are highly receptive to vibrations. Their sight is good on land, especially at night.
Crocodiles’ senses are very keen, especially their great nocturnal vision. Crocodiles find prey and sense the world around them even at night.
Preying habits of crocodiles
Crocodiles are not quite as fast as alligators on land or in the water but they make up for it with their size. They are ambush prey by using their amazing senses to find enemies and then using their powerful jaws and teeth to make them into a meal.
Like alligators, crocodiles typically wait in the water for prey, and then they strike. They ambush their prey, often dragging them into the water to drown them, eating them whole.
The crocodiles’ size works in their favour, they kill giant animals like wildebeests and even sharks.
Did you know
A crocodile can digest bones, hooves, and other byproducts of hunting. Their stomachs are highly acidic and can easily digest unimaginable stuff.
Preying habits of alligators
Alligators lie in wait for their prey to come by and then attack it. Often, alligators will wait with just their eyes and nostrils above water concealing the rest of their bodies beneath the water.
When their prey comes close enough to the edge of the water, the alligator will swim towards its prey, grab it with its teeth and powerful jaws, and kill it. Other times, they will wait in the tall grasses in which they rest and kill their prey.
Alligators have several interesting methods by which they kill other creatures. The simplest way to kill enemies is simply to clamp down with their teeth, kill the prey, and swallow it. Their bite is strong enough to pierce a turtle’s shell.
Alligators are very effective hunters that face few threats from other animals in their habitat.
Which of the two is more dangerous for humans?
Both alligators and crocodiles have had fatal encounters with human beings in the past, but crocodiles are far more dangerous to humans.
Crocodiles tend to be far more aggressive, alligators prefer to flee when confronted by human beings. On one hand, many of the recorded attacks of alligators on humans have occurred in water or when the alligator is actively searching for food.
The size and aggression of crocodiles make them more dangerous to humans. If you encounter an alligator vs. crocodile, you stand a better chance than the other way around.
On an average, alligators can survive between 30 and 60 years. Crocodiles can survive anywhere between 20 and 70 years, so they live longer than their cousins. Once again, in the battle of alligator vs. crocodile, the gator comes up short.
Crocodiles can live to old age and grow into monstrous sizes and become staple predators for a long time.
Crocodiles’ teeth are sharp and pointed because they are designed for tearing. Crocs have an incredible bite strength of 3700 psi. ( pound-force per square inch – unit of pressure ).
The alligator’s jaw is meant for crushing prey not tearing it. This is why their teeth are cone-shaped rather than pointed. Their bite strength is about 2500 psi.
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