Alligators vs. Crocodiles

Topics: Crocodile, Alligatoridae, Alligator Pages: 3 (922 words) Published: February 27, 2013
Both alligators and crocodiles are members of the reptilian order Crocodilian. But the families they belong to, Alligatoridae and Crocodylidae. As a group, crocodilians are pretty impressive animals: Their lineage goes back 240 million years, meaning they've outlived the dinosaurs by a good 65 million years. Ideally suited for life in water and on land, members of the order can swim up to 20 mph and run up to 11 mph. Crocodiles and alligators are top-notch hunters and will eat just about anything they can get their teeth on, from fish and turtles to monkeys and buffalos. They also have incredibly powerful senses to detect their prey. The jaws found on a typical crocodile and an alligator are also different. The upper and lower jaws of the crocodile are essentially the same width, with the teeth exposed in an interlocking pattern. They also have a large, protruding fourth tooth on the lower jaw that is accommodated by depressions in the upper jaw just behind the nostrils. The alligator, however, has a wider upper jaw, allowing the lower teeth to fit into it snugly, effectively hiding them from view. Only the teeth of the upper jaw are exposed along the lower jaw line. Crocodiles have long, narrow, V-shaped snouts, while those of alligators are wider and U-shaped. Crocodiles and alligators are also found in different locations around the globe. Both crocodiles and alligators do well in environments that feature slow moving rivers with grasslands located adjacent to the river banks. Crocodiles live in parts of North, Central, and South America, and can be found in areas of Africa, Australia, and the southeast part of Asia. Alligators are native in the eastern section of China and the southern area of the United States, and are most common in states along the Gulf Coast. The lingual salt glands in crocodiles allows them to be more at home in salt water than alligators. .Both crocodiles and alligators possess a great deal of strength and speed,...
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