CROC vs GATOR
What's the Difference?!
Welcome to my first Keating Creature newsletter!
Today I'm going to show you how to tell the difference between crocodiles and alligators!
STEP ONE: WHERE ARE YOU?
- If you're in North America, chances are you're looking at an ALLIGATOR (there are only few species of crocodiles that live there!)
- If you're anywhere else in the world, it's probably a CROCODILE.
If you don't know where you are, you probably have bigger fish to fry.
STEP TWO: SNOUTS!
Rounded vs V-Shaped
- In general, alligators have ROUNDED SNOUTS
- Crocodiles on the other hand, have sharper, V-SHAPED SNOUTS
Take a look at the pictures below for examples!
STEP THREE: TEETH!
Top vs Bottom
- Alligators have top jaws that look like they OVERLAP their bottom jaws. This means the only teeth you will see on an alligator are the TOP TEETH.
- Crocodiles have 'scarier' looking jaws (that's the technical term), and if you look closely at them, you will see a SCARY 4th BOTTOM TOOTH poking up from their jaw. This is a distinguishing feature of crocodiles!
NOW TRY IT OUT!
Can you tell if these reptiles are crocodiles or alligators?
2) Crocodile (look for that nasty looking 4th tooth)
3) It's albino! But still an alligator, and you can see the overlapping top jaw.
Glossary word of the day: Observation
"Scientists must use their powers of observation to take in every detail of their surroundings."
Some Bonus Reptile Facts!
Because nerdy science is where it's at.
- The first crocodilians appeared about 230 million years ago!
- Crocodiles can't chew their food. This is why you often see them throwing their heads back to eat—they're flinging food to the backs of their throats!
- Scientists recently discovered that alligators and crocodiles sometimes eat FRUIT. This means they are important for ecosystems, as they spread fruit seeds in their poop! (Nobody said zoology wasn't messy at times.)
Books to check out:
- HOW TO OUTRUN A CROCODILE WHEN YOUR SHOES ARE UNTIED, from Sourcebooks Jabberwocky
- PINK IS FOR BLOBFISH, from Knopf
You can also find out more info here on GOODREADS!