Alligator vs. Crocodile: What is the difference between Alligator and Crocodile?

Alligator vs. Crocodile: Discover their Differences and Similarities, as well as answer some of the most frequently asked questions (FAQ).
Alligator vs. Crocodile: 6 Key Differences and Similarities

Alligator vs Crocodile size, difference, pros & cons: Though from the same scientific order, Crocodilia; both alligator and crocodile belong to varying genus within that order. Where alligators belong to the Alligatoridae family, crocodiles are from Crocodylidae. Comparing crocodile vs. alligator snout, crocodiles have large snouts that are generally sharper, whereas alligators have round and short snouts. 

Considering Alligator vs. Crocodile definition for clarity

What is an Alligator?

Alligator is a large, hard-skinned reptile featuring a short and wide nose and lives in freshwaters.

What is a Crocodile?

Crocodile is a large, hard-skinned reptile featuring a long and narrow nose and lives in freshwater and saltwater.

What are the similarities between alligators and crocodiles?

  • Both alligators and crocodiles are reptiles.
  • They can survive pretty well in freshwater environments.
  • Both have powerful tails allowing swift movements in the water.
  • They are expert hunters.
  • Both have excellent night vision.
  • They prefer swallowing their food to chewing.
  • They have a highly developed sense of smell.
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Who is bigger, Alligator, or Crocodile?

Alligator vs. Crocodile size: An adult crocodile is around 4 to 5 feet bigger than an adult alligator. Where crocodiles grow up to 19 feet long, alligators reach just about 14 feet. Hence, in an ‘alligator or crocodile bigger’ query, a crocodile is always a clear winner. That said, some of the alligator species can be bigger than some smaller crocodile species. 

Who would win in a crocodile vs. alligator fight?

The alligator vs. crocodile difference in size and strength reveals that crocodiles stand greater chances of winning in a fight with bigger size, powerful bites, and more aggression they possess.

Who is the most dangerous crocodile?

The Nile Crocodiles are reported as the most dangerous crocodile in the world. Native to Africa, they grow up to 20 feet and are known to claim more than 300 human lives every year.

Who eats alligators?

As strong as alligators can be, they still have a lot of predators out there:

  • Large cats like Jaguars are known to attack and eat alligators;
  • Large serpents like pythons and anacondas; 
  • Carnivores mammals such as wild pigs; 
  • Predatory birds like eagles and egrets are known to eat baby alligators; and 
  • Lastly, large alligators are infamous for eating the baby alligators. 
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Who is the biggest crocodile in the world?

The title of the biggest crocodile measured ever rests with Lolong, an Indo-Pacific saltwater crocodile. He stood at 20.3 feet from snout to tail. But his current status is dead. Of the alive crocodiles, Dominator happens to be the biggest one, standing huge at exactly 20 feet. His territory is the Adelaide River in Australia. 

What animal can kill a crocodile?

  • Throughout the African and Asian jungles, crocodiles see big cats like tigers, leopards, and lions as their top predators, with tigers holding the records for more crocodile killings than others. 
  • Next in line are big snakes like pythons and anacondas. 
  • Some small crocodile species like Australian freshwater crocodiles also fear their life at the hands of large saltwater crocodile species. 
  • River beasts like hippopotamus and rhinoceros are also known to attack and kill crocodiles owing to their strong bite force and huge strength. 
  • Big land animals like elephants are also very much capable of killing crocodiles in a fight. 
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How can a snake eat a crocodile?

Large snakes like pythons are known to suffocate crocodiles before swallowing them as a whole. The flexible jaws let them eat even the biggest crocodiles easily in one go, though they risk their arteries getting burst sometimes. Having eaten a crocodile is for snakes, but not needing to eat for the next two months lures them to their prey. 

How tall is a crocodile?

The length of a crocodile varies from one species to another. Where dwarf crocs can measure anywhere between 4.9 feet to 6.2 feet, the saltwater crocs happen to be the largest of all — many species measure around 23 feet. 

What does crocodile meat taste like?

Crocodile meat has a fish-like flavor to it, with many people comparing it to the meat of the likes of swordfish, prawns, and crabs. Some even find the taste reminiscent of that of chicken. 

What does the crocodile eat?

Being carnivores, crocodiles feed only on meat. Their general platter includes fish, frogs, birds, crustaceans, rats, mice, lizards, small reptiles, and animals, and live insects.  

Are caimans crocodiles?

No, caimans are reptiles similar to crocodiles. In the alligator crocodile caiman difference, alligators and caimans belong to the same family, whereas crocodiles belong to a separate family.

Can alligators and crocodiles coexist?

Yes, these species can coexist. Unlike in other regions, you won’t find either alligator or crocodile in Florida but both of them together in the Everglades region.

6 Key Differences Between Alligator and Crocodiles

Let’s look at the alligator and crocodile difference at a glance:

SnoutThey have round and short snouts.They have sharp and long snouts except for the Indian mugger crocodile that features a broad snout.
Alligator vs. crocodile teethOnly their upper teeth are visible on closing the mouth.Both upper and lower teeth are visible on closing the mouth.
HabitatThey are found in freshwater environments.They are found in both freshwater and saltwater environments.
LengthThey can reach up to 14 feet.They can reach up to 19 feet.
LifespanTheir average lifespan is 30 to 50 years.Their average lifespan is 70 to 100 years.
Salt glandsTheir salt glands are not well developed and cannot function efficiently.Their salt glands are well developed and carry the power to expel a lot of salt if required.
Body ColorThey are generally darker, sporting gray and black colors.They are generally lighter, sporting olive, brown, and tan colors.

Comparison Chart

Alligator vs. Crocodile: Discover their Differences and Similarities, as well as answer some of the most frequently asked questions (FAQ).

Comparison Video

Alligator vs Crocodile!

How to differentiate a crocodile from an alligator?

Conclusion: The alligator and crocodile difference lies both in their appearance and their behavior. Alligators are found in darker shades, whereas crocodiles generally have lighter shades. Crocodiles have longer and narrower snouts than alligators and tend to grow larger than the latter. The alligator and crocodile comparison reveals that crocodiles are stronger than alligators. 

Alex Stantor
Alex Stantor

Alex Stantor is a Sorbonne University (Paris, France) graduate in Philosophy and Data Analysis. Currently, he is an Author and Researcher at Difference 101, he writes articles/blog posts on topics such as "thinking differently" and "the importance of difference". Alex is a passionate advocate of diversity in the workplace and in companies, and diversity and inclusion in corporate communications. He currently lives in Brooklyn.

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