Alligator Vs. Crocodile Size: Which Reptile Is Bigger And Stronger?

Martha Martins
Oct 24, 2023 By Martha Martins
Originally Published on Nov 13, 2021
American Alligator along Myakka River

Just about all people confuse alligators and crocodiles, and although they have many of the same characteristics, they couldn't be more distinctive to a trained specialist.

Crocodiles are predominantly much more aggressive and threatening than alligators, making them more deadly. American crocodiles or alligators have always been opportunistic feeders, which means they won't hunt you down until triggered; nevertheless, this doesn't imply you should enter the water alongside them, so practice care and rational thinking if you're anywhere around them.

Crocodiles and alligators belong to the same taxonomic order, yet they are members of separate families. Existing crocodilians are classified into three families: Alligatoridae, which includes alligators and caimans; Crocodylidae, which consists of 14 species of true crocodiles; and Gavialidae, which includes Gharial and Tomistoma. Crocodiles belong to the Crocodylidae family, while alligators belong to the Alligatordae.

Around 245 million years ago, the first alligator relatives appeared. Crocodilians first arose approximately 80 million years ago, around the Cretaceous period.

Alligatoroids like Brachychampsa, and also crocodiles and caimans, belong to this category. Crocodiles are found in North, Central, and South America, Africa, Australia, and Southeast Asia. The Florida Everglades is unique in that it is the only area in the world where alligators and crocodiles coexist.

The 23 current crocodilian species have altered little ever since the emergence of their prehistoric forebears, yet this does not imply these animals are not sophisticated compared to various reptiles. A Crocodilian, unlike other extant reptiles, possesses four-chambered hearts similar to birds and mammals.

Now let's find out the differences between alligators and crocodiles and then also check out facts about alligator bites and do alligators hibernate? Here on Kidadl.

Which is bigger: a crocodile or alligator?

Both alligators and crocodiles species are enormous reptiles, with crocodiles being somewhat bigger on average. Alligators may grow to be 9.9-14.8 ft (3-4.5 m ) long and weigh up to 506 lb (230 kg) on average. Crocodiles may grow to be 18 ft (5.5 m) long and weigh about 1 MT (2200 lb)!

Found in both freshwater and saltwater, crocodiles are around 3 ft (0.9 m) longer than alligators on average. This is not uncommon in the United States.

An American crocodile may grow to be approximately 17 ft (5.15 m) long, but an American alligator can grow to be about 14 ft (4.2 m) long. Crocodiles in Florida typically outnumber alligators in size. The biggest crocodile is the saltwater crocodile, which may grow to be 23 ft (6.9 m) long.

The American crocodile found only in freshwater may grow to be 20 ft (6.0 m) long; however, most of the time, it is between 15-17 ft (4.5-5.1 m) long. It may weigh between 800-1000 lb (362-453 kg).

The Size Difference Of The Two Reptiles

The most important thing to understand is that alligators and crocodiles are not the same species. They are distinguished by their structure, size, and color.

The differences in size between crocs and alligators are prominent. Crocodiles are also larger than alligators when fully matured.

A mature crocodile may grow to be around 19 ft (5.7 m) long, while alligators can reach about 14 ft (4.2 m) long. The American alligator is substantially smaller than the Nile crocodile, reaching a maximum length of 15 ft (4.5 m).

Crocodilians differ in length from 3–5 ft (0.9-1.5 m) for the Paleosuchus and Osteolaemus species to 23 ft (6.9 m) and 4,400 lb (2,000 kg) for the saltwater crocodile, while certain prehistoric species like the late Cretaceous Deinosuchus were considerably bigger at up to 36 ft (10.9 m) and 7590 lb (3,450 kg).

A mature American alligator, on the other hand, weighs 792 lb (360 kg) and is 13 ft (3.9 m) long, although they can grow to 14 ft (4.2 m) long and reach over 990 lb (450 kg).

The biggest ever found was 19.2 ft (5.8 m) long and was discovered in Louisiana. The Chinese alligator is smaller than the American alligator, seldom topping 7 ft (2.1 m) in length.

It also weighs far less, with males rarely exceeding 99 lb (45 kg).

Who would win in a fight: an alligator or a crocodile?

In a fight between the largest gator and the largest crocodile, the croc would most likely win. Even though the alligator is quicker, the crocodile would win for the following reasons: Crocodiles are often larger and heavier than other reptiles. Because of their size and power, crocodiles have a fatal bite.

Crocodiles easily defeat alligators in terms of biting strength. When these crocodiles close their jaws, the pressure of their bite is measured at 3,700 psi (pounds per square inch).

With a psi of 2,980 pounds, the bites of American alligators are only the sixth most powerful in the world. A saltwater crocodile is the quickest of all crocodiles, swimming at speeds ranging from 15-18 mph (24-28.8 kph).

American alligators are quicker in the water, reaching speeds of close to 20 mph (32 kph). On the ground, though, both are far slower.

Saltwater crocodiles can sprint for extended periods of time on land at speeds ranging from 8-9 mph (12.8-14.4 kg). American alligators typically run at speeds ranging from 7.5-9 mph (12.0-14.4 kg) over short distances. The Indo-Pacific crocodile (Crocodylus porosus) is the world's largest crocodile species and is considered one of the most aggressive, easily taking down the largest alligator.

Can alligators mate with crocodiles?

Absolutely not! Alligators and crocodiles cannot mate. They may appear to be genetically identical, yet they are not. Although crocodiles and alligators are both members of the order Crocodilia, they separated into distinct genera a long time back.

Crocodiles are members of the Crocodylidae family, while alligators are members of the Alligatoroidea family. This indicates that crocs and alligators are genetically too dissimilar to breed. As a result, don't hold your breath for any 'crocogators' to appear anytime soon.

Differences Between Alligators And Crocodiles

Crocodiles and alligators are the most closely related creatures to dinosaurs. They may be traced back more than 70 million years. Since then, these 'living fossils' have altered very little in look or behavior, but differences prevail.

The following are the primary differences between alligators and crocodiles:

Alligators and crocodiles belong to the same biological order but separate families. Crocodiles and alligators are both representatives of the Crocodylia; however, crocodiles belong to the Crocodylidae family, while alligators belong to the Alligatordae family.

Crocodile species may be found in both freshwater and saltwater, while alligators tend to favor freshwater.

Snout shape is very distinguishable. In terms of the snout shape, crocodiles exhibit longer, pointier V-shaped snouts than alligators, which have shorter, more bulbous U-shaped snouts. Crocodiles are often lighter in color, with tans and brown markings, whereas alligators appear darker, with more grey and black markings.

Crocodiles are typically considered to be far more aggressive and confrontational than alligators. Crocodiles have been known to strike simply because someone or anything is nearby; crocodiles are more active in the water. Alligators enjoy sunbathing or lying on the riverbank or in the mud near the water.

According to research, a substantial number of female alligators in Florida will pair with the same masculine alligators for the rest of their lives. On the other hand, it is common for juvenile crocodile batches to be produced by many mates.

Crocodiles have a longer lifespan than alligators. A crocodile has an average lifespan of around 70-100 years, but an alligator has an average life expectancy of 30-50 years.

Similarities Between Crocodiles And Alligators

Numerous people have been using the terms' alligator' and 'crocodile' interchangeably, meaning that the two species are virtually identical. While alligators and crocodiles have many distinctions, they also have many commonalities.

The similarities between crocodiles and alligators are as follows:

The fact that both alligators and crocodiles are reptiles is an evident resemblance. These are cold-blooded organisms that glide with little effort. Both have robust, scaly hides.

Both alligators and crocodiles are documented to live in or near water. Their water behavior is quite similar. Alligators and crocodiles both live in swamps and on the beaches, and both are remarkably excellent swimmers. Alligators and crocodiles consume other aquatic creatures like fishes and mollusks; hence, their aquatic environments influence some diets.

Alligators and crocodiles consume many of the same things since they have comparable jaws and teeth and are around the same size. Young alligators and crocodiles eat insects, crabs, and tiny fish. They consume larger animals as they get larger.

Crocodiles, as well as alligators, are both reptiles that belong to the Crocodylidae family of animals. Crocodiles and alligators have been around for 55 million years, and their ancestors initially emerged 200 million years ago.

Alligator Vs. Crocodile: Appearance

You might be wondering what makes crocodiles and alligators notably different. Even if they are relatives and have a similar appearance, crocodiles and alligators have significant distinctions, one of which is their appearance.

Their looks are the most evident distinction. Alligators have shorter, more spherical U-shaped snouts than crocodiles, which have longer, pointier V-shaped snouts.

You can't see any of an alligator's teeth when it closes its mouth and upper jaw. Whenever a crocodile closes its upper jaw, its back teeth protrude over the upper lip, revealing a wide smile.

U-shaped alligator snouts are tougher than V-shaped crocodile snouts since the U shape is wider than the V shape, allowing them to smash hard-shelled prey like turtles. Crocodiles have salt glands on their tongues, while alligators lack these salt glands.

What is the relationship between alligators, crocodiles, and humans?

The majority of humans around the world believe that alligators and crocodiles are natural predators and consider humans as prey on the land. No, they're far smarter. They have human-level intelligence.

Because each place has its own collection of circumstances, there is no straightforward answer to the problem of human-crocodile conflict on land. These waterways have been home to crocodiles for thousands of years.

They've integrated themselves into their separate habitats. Removing them completely would have unavoidable implications, not all of which would be good for humans. However, if humans want to reap the benefits of having them nearby, we must learn to live with them.

For a great many years, humans have done so well, although nothing is ever flawless. Accidents happen, and people take risks, sometimes to survive, and sometimes because they make poor decisions.

The experience of Australia with crocodile conservation indicates that human-crocodile conflict may be maintained to a minimum if crocodiles are kept around, yet this does not negate the demand to eliminate wild crocodiles. People are rightly scared of crocodiles as these animals consider humans prey, but it doesn't rule out the possibility of coexistence for an extended period.

Here at Kidadl, we have carefully created lots of interesting family-friendly facts for everyone to enjoy! If you liked our suggestions for alligator vs. crocodile size, then why not take a look at alligator snapping turtle bite or Alligator Facts.

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Written by Martha Martins

Bachelor of Arts specializing in Linguistics

Martha Martins picture

Martha MartinsBachelor of Arts specializing in Linguistics

Martha is a full-time creative writer, content strategist, and aspiring screenwriter who communicates complex thoughts and ideas effectively. She has completed her Bachelor's in Linguistics from Nasarawa State University. As an enthusiast of public relations and communication, Martha is well-prepared to substantially impact your organization as your next content writer and strategist. Her dedication to her craft and commitment to delivering high-quality work enables her to create compelling content that resonates with audiences.

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