Crocodiles live in Africa, Asia, Australia, and from the southern tip of Florida to tropical South America. One way to tell the difference between crocodiles and alligators is that you can see the fourth tooth on the lower jaw of the crocodiles mouth.
The smallest crocodile is the broad-fronted, or dwarf, crocodile, of West Africa, which rarely grows bigger then 1.5 m (5 ft) long. The largest captive crocodile in 1990 was a crocodile at a Thailand zoo named "Yai" which grew to a length of 19 ft 8 in and weighed 2, 465 pounds! The heaviest crocodile in the wild was a salt-water crocodile, which weighed about 4,400 lb. and was 28 ft 4 in long!
Most crocodiles hunt at
night and lay in the sun during the day (crocodiles are
cold-blooded and need to lay in the sun or shade to control their
body temperature). Hungry crocodiles, however, hunt during the
day as well. Some broad-fronted crocodiles eat frogs, birds, and
small mammals. Larger crocodiles feed on animals such as
antelope, deer, and hogs. Both have been known to attack humans
(so dont go near one, especially if it is
Alligators are related to crocodiles, but alligators have a broader snout and you cant see the fourth tooth in the lower jaw. There are two kinds of alligators, the Chinese alligator (which lives in China) and the American alligator (which lives in America).
The smaller and less known species, the Chinese alligator, rarely grows larger than 1.5 m (5 ft). It is now found only in the Yangtze River valley. The larger alligator, the American alligator, is much bigger. The record was a 5.8 m (19 ft 2 in) long. The American alligators large size and its hide has made it a target for hunters and almost made it extinct.
The rarest alligator is the protected Chinese alligator, which, in 1990, had a population of only about 700-1,000 alligators! The oldest alligator is a female American alligator that reached the age of 66 years old!
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This page lasted edited on 03/31/98