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What’s the Difference Between an Alligator and a Crocodile?

Did you know that all alligators are crocodiles, but not all crocodiles are alligators? Sound confusing? We thought so! Both alligator and crocodiles belong to the reptilian order Crocodylia. Usually when people call one of these reptiles a crocodile, what they actually mean is “crocodilian,” since these two are quite different.

gator vs crocodile

Alligators have more rounded snouts that kind of look like they’re shaped like a “U”, while the crocodile has a long pointed snout that makes more of a “V” shape. An alligator’s lower jaw is a bit smaller than the upper jaw so when its mouth is closed, all you see are its upper teeth. Crocodiles’ jaws are pretty much the same size so when their mouths are closed, you can see all of their teeth.

Alligators tend to be found only in the southeastern United States, South America and China, while Crocodiles can be found all over the world. There’s a good reason for this difference. Crocodiles can stand being in saltier waters because of their well-developed salt glands, while Alligators can’t expel as much salt so they are limited to more freshwater areas. Fun fact: the only place you can find BOTH Crocodiles and Alligators is in the southern tip of Florida!

If you’re interested in learning more or want to try and spot some of the differences you learned about today, head over to Wild Florida Airboat Tours in Orlando and take a look at some alligators today! Call 407-957-3135 to book your Orlando Airboat tour.

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