The alligator and crocodile are close relatives but distinctive creatures. Along with their obvious physical differences, alligators are found in a few limited places in the U.S. and China while the crocodile's habitat ranges across North America, to Asia, to Australia, and even Africa. Crocodiles are usually found in saltwater environments, while the alligator tends to live and eat in freshwater lakes, rivers, or marshes. Although both animals are in the crocodilian biological family, surprisingly, the ancient ancestors of birds, crocodiles are in the Crocodylinae sub-family group, and alligators are in the Alligatoridae family.
The head is the quickest way to identify whether an animal is a crocodile or alligator. Crocodiles have longer, narrower heads with a V-shape. Alligators have a more rounded U-shape to their heads. Look at the mouth. The jaw of the crocodiles is the same length on the upper and lower portions, making the teeth visible even when they close their mouths. This gives them an almost evil grin. Alligators have small depressions in their upper jaw where the lower teeth fit, so when they close their mouths, no teeth are visible.
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