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alligator, crocodile
alligator (AL i gay" tuhr) (noun)
A large reptile that lives near water, has thick scaly skin, powerful jaws, a long tail, and a shorter and broader snout than a crocodile. Native to the southern United States (alligator mississippiensis), and the Yangtze River in China (alligator sinensis): Barry was surprised to see an alligator in his backyard during his Florida vacation.
crocodile (KRAWK uh dighl") (noun)
A large carnivorous reptile that lives near water, and has a long thick-skinned body and a broad head with strong jaws and which lives in geographical regions with hot weather; especially, the Nile crocodile: When Glenda and Floyd went to Egypt, they saw a crocodile on the shore of the Nile River.

In the Alligatoridae, the teeth of the lower jaw fit inside those of the upper jaw, whereas in the Crocodylidae, the teeth of the two jaws form a single interdititating row when the jaws are closed.

In crocodiles, the fourth tooth of the lower jaw fits into an indentation of the upper jaw and is exposed to view when the mouth is closed.

In alligators, this tooth is hidden from view when the mouth is closed, because it fits into a pit which exists in the upper jaw.

Other physical characteristics exist; however, the foregoing information is the most outstanding.

Crocodilians are well-adapted as predators, with few natural enemies. Bony plates, called osteoderms, form a kind of armor in their thick skin.

Their teeth, about 30 to 40 in each jaw, are set into sockets in the jawbones and interlock when the mouth is closed.

Crocodilians are the most vocal reptiles, producing sounds from quiet hisses to fearsome roars and bellows, usually during the mating season. On land, crocodilians move quickly in a belly crawl but can also gallop and walk mammal-like on all four legs.

—Compiled from information located in
"Crocodilia", Encyclopaedia Britannica; William Benton, Publisher;
Chicago; Illinois; 1968; pages 787-789.

Darrell's friend told Derrick that an easy way to tell the difference between an alligator and a crocodile is that an alligator has an "A" shaped snout and the snout of a crocodile is more rounded.