What Is The Difference Between An Alligator & A Crocodile?

I’m sure I’m not the only one who grew up assuming that Alligators and Crocodiles were the same animal. It wasn’t until I started spending more time in New Orleans that I learned that these were two different types of reptiles. Although they look similar, they behave differently and are from different biological families. If you planned on seeing crocodiles during your New Orleans swamp tour, I’m sorry to burst your bubble but crocodiles don’t inhabit New Orleans. However you will find alligators as well as some other wildlife if you take a guided swamp tour through the bayou.

There are a handful of differences between Alligators and Crocodiles especially in appearance, and once you know these differences you’ll be able to easily differentiate the two. One of the main differences in appearance is the look and shape of their snout. Alligators have a broader snout that is shaped like a U, and crocodiles have a narrow V-shaped snout. They also have different teeth, and you can easily tell the difference between them when their mouths are closed. An alligator’s upper jaw is wider than their bottom jaw so they can hide all their teeth, whereas you can see some of a crocodile’s bottom teeth when their jaw is closed. Alligators tend to be darker in color than crocodiles, alligators are a dark blackish grey whereas crocodiles are a light tan or olive color.

Where Are Alligators & Crocodiles Found?

Alligators and crocodiles inhabit different parts of the world. Alligators can only be found in eastern China and the southeastern United States, predominantly Louisiana and Florida, as well as some parts of Georgia, Alabama, Mississippi, the Carolinas, Texas, Oklahoma, and Arkansas. There is a species of crocodiles that live in the southernmost tip of Florida, and crocodiles can also be found in Africa, Australia, Southeast Asia, and parts of the Americas. Alligators by far outnumber crocodiles in the United States, there are over 3 million alligators and fewer than 2,000 crocodiles. There is only one place in the world where alligators and crocodiles can live side by side, and that is near the southernmost tip of Florida.

One place where you’re sure to find alligators is on a swamp tour through the bayou in New Orleans. You don’t have to worry about alligators attacking you on your swamp tour, as alligators are less aggressive than crocodiles and will typically escape if approached by humans. Alligators are inherently afraid of humans but with regular contact they will lose some of that fear.