Can you spot the difference between Crocodiles and Alligators?

These reptiles are part of the order Crocodylia, which includes alligators, crocodiles, and gharials. All three of these reptile species share a common ancestor but have evolved to have their own unique characteristics over time.1

Here are some things to look out for to figure out the difference between the two:

Look at the lower set of teeth on crocodiles and alligators and you’ll notice a big difference. In crocodiles, the lower teeth can be seen when their mouths are closed. In alligators, that’s not the case.2

Head Shape
Crocodiles have a V shape to their snouts, while alligators have more of a U shape.1

You’ll find alligators in freshwater, while you’ll find crocodiles in saltwater.2 This is because while they both have a gland that helps get rid of any excess salt from their bodies, the glands in crocodiles are more efficient, so they can handle saltwater habitats more than alligators can.1

Both of these reptile species are integral members of their environment. As predators, they help ensure balance stays within their ecosystems. For example, crocodiles ensure that catfish don’t overeat fish populations so that there’s enough food for birds, too.3

Predators have an important role in our environment. Yet they tend to be very misunderstood. That’s why we do what we do. We help spread awareness of these carnivores and dispel the myths that surround them.

Support our carnivores with a donation to the Wolf Center.