Fostering curiosity in kids (and their parents) since 2011

“What’s the difference between an alligator and a crocodile?”

Recently, it has come to The Eight-Year-Old’s attention that her Mommyo doesn’t know the difference between an alligator and a crocodile.

You may remember, a week or two ago, I reported that The Eight-Year-Old had spent part of her vacation cuddling a crocodile. But Mr. Cuddles, as you can clearly see, is actually an alligator.

The Eight-Year-Old with Mr. Cuddles (Photo: Barbara Howell)

The Eight-Year-Old with Mr. Cuddles (Photo: Barbara Howell)

Frankly, The Eight-Year-Old was a little embarrassed that I couldn’t tell that from this picture.

When my daughter realized I couldn’t tell the difference between alligators and crocodiles, she assigned me one last bit of homework before Caterpickles breaks for its August vacation.

The Eight-Year-Old, firmly: “Mommyo, you need to do a Caterpickles on telling alligators and crocodiles apart. That’s the only way you’ll ever learn it.”

The good news is that according to LiveScience, I only have to check three things, and I’ll be able to differentiate between alligators and crocodiles with the best of them:

  1. What shape is their snout? Alligator snouts are shaped like the letter U. Crocodile mouths are pointy V’s.
  2. Can I see teeth even when its mouth is closed? If yes, it’s a crocodile. The upper jaw on an alligator is wider than its lower jaw, so when an alligator closes its mouth, no teeth show.  Crocodiles, on the other hand, have wider lower jaws, which means that even when their mouth is closed, you’ll be able to see the fourth tooth on each side of their lower jaw.
  3. Is that body of water over there fresh- or salt- water?  Crocodiles tend to live near saltwater. Alligators prefer freshwater marshes and lakes.

And now I know.

Related Links: 

2 Responses to ““What’s the difference between an alligator and a crocodile?””

What are you thinking?

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

Basic HTML is allowed. Your email address will not be published.

Subscribe to this comment feed via RSS

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: