Alligators and Crocodiles….is there really a difference?
Alligators have a rounded snout, almost a U shape, while crocodiles have a V shape. So when their mouths are closed, you can see upper and lower teeth from a crocodile, but only the upper teeth of an alligator. Both the alligator and crocodile have a hinged jaw, but crocodiles have a second joint to help distribute the pressure throughout the entire jaw, so it doesn’t twist or lose grip during their powerful bite. Rather than chewing, both the alligator and crocodile clamp down onto their prey with their powerful jaws, they then roll their bodies while clamped on to tear of bite-sized lumps of flesh. While the muscles generating the downward force are very strong, you can actually hold their mouth shut with your hand. Which we do not advise trying.
Some of the more interesting differences are, Alligators are smaller, darker in color, faster on land and in the water and, believe it, less aggressive. So, crocodiles seem to be bigger, slower, lighter and meaner….
Now alligators prefer fresh water, and crocodiles prefer salty water, so it doesn’t look likely to run into both of them at the same location, but stranger things have happened. Alligators are only found in parts of the US and China, while crocodiles can be found across the world.