alligator is a crocodilian reptile that belongs to the family Alligatoridae. The crocodilian group includes alligators, Caymans and
Alligators and crocodiles – similarities and
Both crocodiles and
alligators are large lizard-like animals. Their eyes, ears and nostrils
are located on the top of the head, which is usually long. These creatures
have a big and powerful tail, which they use for both defense and
swimming. When these creatures float on the surface of the water, their
eyes and nostril slightly project above the surface of the water.
alligator and the crocodile are different in some ways. Alligators have
broader snouts than crocodiles. In an alligator, the fourth tooth on each
side of the lower fits into a socket on the upper jaw; whereas, in the
case of the crocodile, the fourth tooth in each side of the lower jaw
projects outside the snout when the mouth is closed.
Alligators may be
found living along the edges of lakes, swamps and rivers. They are
carnivorous. They dig burrows in which they escape from danger and
in which they hibernate during cold weather.
habitat of the crocodilians is mainly the tropics and subtropics
of the northern and southern hemispheres. Two varieties of
alligators, the Mississippi or
the American alligator and the Chinese alligator are the only
kinds that are found outside the tropics.
The American alligator
The American alligator is
the larger one of the two. It is found in the southeastern parts of United
States. It is usually hunted for its hide. It generally grows to a length of about six to twelve feet.
The largest known American alligator measured nineteen feet. An adult
alligator is brownish in color, although it is black (with a yellow
banding) when it is a baby.
sound made by both the male and the female is a hiss. The males are
capable of giving loud roars that are carried over long distances. Fishes,
birds and small mammals are the usually preferred food for the American
alligator, although it may sometimes choose to delight on deer or cattle.
the female wants to lay eggs, she builds a mound of mud and vegetation and
carefully hides about twenty to seventy hard-shelled eggs. She is
extremely protective about her eggs.
The Chinese alligator
The Chinese alligator is
much smaller than the American alligator. It reaches a maximum length of
five feet only. It is found in the Yangtze River region of China. It is
similar in appearance to its larger cousin. It is blackish in color, with
faint yellowish markings.
True crocodiles belong to
the family Crocodylidae. They are usually found in Madagascar, some
regions south of the Sahara Desert, India, Sri Lanka, Southeast Asia, East
Indies, northern Australia, Mexico, Central America, West Indies and most
of South America. The gavial is found in India.
recently, crocodiles were to be seen in plenty. However, continuous
killing of crocodiles by human beings for various reasons have resulted in
the crocodile slowly becoming extinct. This is proving to be
disadvantageous in many ways. For instance, the disappearance of the Nile
crocodile from parts of Africa has resulted in an overabundance of the
catfish Clarias, which in turn
has greatly diminished the supply of popular food fishes. Crocodiles are
now being bred in crocodile farms. When the crocodiles grow to a length of
five feet, they are let out of the farms into their natural habitat.
are broad snouted reptiles that often measure up to fifteen in length.
They are native to South America.