What is the difference between an Alligator and a Crocodile?
Most, if not all, of our guests have one common goal in mind while enjoying our tour— the opportunity to encounter an alligator! Good news, alligator populations are on the rise and we will most likely get to see a few wild alligators! At our up close and personal animal encounter activity, you will even get the chance to touch one!
A common misconception is that alligators and crocodiles are the same animal. The truth is that though both are covered in scales, have long tails and large jaws filled with teeth, the alligator and crocodile are completely different animals!
The major differences in these species fall in their outward appearance. Crocodiles are traditionally a grey-green color, have a fourth tooth on their lower jaw that is exposed when their mouth is closed and most noticeably, crocodiles have an extremely narrow, tapered snout. Baby crocs are identified by their light coloring with dark stripes.
On the other hand, Alligators are black in color, only their upper teeth are exposed when their mouth is closed and have a boxy, rounded snout. Like crocodiles, baby alligators are light but characteristically have yellow stripes.
In relation to behavior, it is commonly thought that crocodiles are more aggressive than alligators, and this is true for some species. American alligators are more docile than their saltwater friends, the saltwater crocodile. Saltwater crocodiles, though not as common as the alligator, can be found in the waters of Southwest Florida and the Everglades naturally.
Much like the alligator and saltwater crocodiles, populations of many other Everglades species’ populations are also on the rise—including invasive species like the nile crocodile.
An invasive species is defined as a “non-native (or alien) organism introduced to the ecosystem and causes ecological or economic harm in a new environment where it is not native.
Nile crocodiles have been introduced to the Everglades ecosystem. The Nile crocodile has not yet begun to breed in the Everglades and are quite rare to find. If the population of Nile crocodiles begins to grow, it will spell trouble for our beloved alligator as the crocs will likely encroach on the alligators’ ecosystem and delicate food web.
Don’t worry if you haven’t studied up enough before your everglades adventure, our experienced guides will be able to identify any animal we may come across—except maybe the Skunk Ape!
Join us on an unforgettable adventure into the Everglades, complete with alligators and more!