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Crocodiles and Alligators Co-Exist in A Small Part of Southern Florida

The Florida Everglades

The Everglades is known for many reasons, including being the only place where American Alligators and American Crocodiles dwell together. You’ll almost certainly come across these reptiles on your Everglades airboat tour, and you might be wondering what the difference is.

Crocodiles and alligators in the Everglades are related and look similar, yet they have some significant differences as well. Airboat trips in South Florida are enjoyable for the whole family at Everglades Holiday Park. The key differences between alligators and crocodiles are detailed below. (Source: Everglades Holiday Park)

What is the Difference Between a Crocodile and an Alligator of the Everglades?

Alligators and crocodiles are members of the same scientific order, the Crocodylia, but belong to different families. Crocodiles are members of the Crocodylidae family, whereas alligators are members of the Alligatordae family.

Crocodiles can be found in freshwater and saltwater, whereas alligators prefer freshwater. The Florida Everglades is the only place where alligators and crocodiles coexist.

Their appearances are the most noticeable difference. Crocodiles have longer, more pointed snouts than alligators, with shorter, more rounded snouts. None of its teeth are visible when an alligator’s mouth is closed. When a crocodile closes its mouth, its back teeth protrude above the top lip, revealing a toothy grin. Alligator snouts are stronger than crocodile snouts because they are more expansive, allowing them to crush hard-shelled prey such as turtles. Crocodiles are typically lighter in color, with tans and brown markings, whereas alligators are darker, with more gray and black markings.

Both members have extremely acute senses, making them excellent hunters. Alligators and crocodiles are nightmares for their prey, with sharp above-water vision, night vision, sensitive hearing, and vertical pupils taking in additional light.

Crocodiles are frequently thought to be far more aggressive than alligators. While both animals should be avoided at all costs, alligators in the Everglades are more docile than crocodiles, attacking only when hungry or provoked. Crocodiles have been known to attack simply because someone or something is nearby; crocodiles are more active in the water. Alligators in the Everglades prefer to sunbathe or lounge on the banks or in the mud near the water, so they are easily spotted during Everglades airboat tours.

According to research, a high percentage of female alligators will mate with the same male alligators for the rest of their lives. On the other hand, young batches of crocodile babies typically come from multiple mates.

Crocodiles have a longer lifespan than alligators. A crocodile has an average lifespan of 70-100 years, whereas an alligator has an average lifespan of 30-50 years. If you take an Everglades airboat tour with Everglades Holiday Park, the airboat captains may be able to point out some crocodiles they have seen for years. (Source: Everglades Holiday Park)

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