One of the most interesting things I learned from the epic battle between the cat and the alligator was that alligators basically only live in the southeast of the United States. I didn’t know that!
The second-most interesting thing I learned was that there is one place in southern Florida where alligators and crocodiles live side by side. It wasn’t relevant before but it is now. They shouldn’t be able to live side by side because alligators stick to freshwater and crocodiles to seawater. So, what’s the dealio?
Actually both species can live in either aquatic environment. It’s just that alligators prefer to live in freshwater and crocs to seawater.
Thing I learned #3!
Here are the main distinguishing factors between alligators and crocodiles
- Crocodiles have a giant protruding (fourth?) tooth, while alligators do not
- Alligators are much darker in colour than crocodiles
- Crocodiles are found worldwide (well, throughout the tropics)
- Alligators have a wide “U-shaped” mouth, while crocodiles have a thin “V-shaped mouth.” This makes the alligator’s bite super strong (nay, invincible) and the crocodile’s bite just so-so
- When threatened, crocodiles are more apt to attack, while alligators prefer to retreat to safety
- Crocs are just plain bigger than gators
There are more differences but I think that’s the gist. Honestly, if you’re in a situation where you encounter an alligator or, wait…maybe it’s a crocodile? You probably won’t take the time to check whether his snout is more “U” than “V” and you definitely won’t do a colour comparison. You are running like crazy to get the heck out of there, and that’s all you’re doing.
But for arguments sake, and whatever, here’s a general rule of thumb. If you encounter a weird scary massive lizardy-thing and you’re in North America, chances are you’ve stumbled upon an alligator. This is because in the U.S. there are 1.5 million alligators and only 1,000 crocodiles.
Even I can do that math.
And if you’re anywhere else in the world and you see a creepy massive dinosaur thingy hurling itself at you, it’s probably a crocodile and you should move your hiney.
In either case, get away from the gross massive lizardy thing. Their teeth are an army of spears, which skewer their food for them so well they don’t even bother chewing.
So, who would win in a battle to the death of alligator vs. crocodile?