The American alligator, in addition to being the state reptile of Florida, is recognized as a symbol of the Everglades. While on an airboat tour in Miami, you’ll likely see so many alligators that you’d lose count! But even if you were keeping score, you might be counting some crocodiles by accident.

The American Crocodile

american-crocodile-everglades-airboat-tour-florida-wildife

The American alligator and the American Crocodile belong to a reptile group named crocodilians, which are the largest living reptiles in the world! The Florida Everglades is the only place on earth where both species coexist. It is the extreme southern range American alligator and the extreme northern range for crocodiles. At a glance it can be difficult to tell them apart, but there are distinct differences between the two if you take a closer look.

Crocodiles have pointy, longer snouts, while alligators have more rounded, shorter ones. You can still see all of a crocodile’s bottom teeth when its mouth is shut, but gators only show some of their upper teeth. Crocodiles are usually lighter in color, having grey to green backs and white to yellow undersides; alligators are a darker grey or black.

Despite their subtle differences, Alligators and Crocodiles are both listed as “Federally Threatened by Similarity of Appearance”

Other Differences from Alligators

alligator sunbathing, gator photo, gator photography, everglades alligators
  • Alligators and crocodiles both have spots by their mouths called “dermal pressure receptors” that sense tiny pressure changes in water caused by movement, but crocodiles have them all over their bodies!
  • Crocodiles have stronger salt glands than alligators do, which makes them more adaptive to saltwater and are often seen near saltwater areas of the Everglades like Florida Bay. Alligators prefer freshwater habitats.
  • Alligators have an average lifespan of between 30-50 years, but crocodiles live twice as long as them, with an average lifespan between 70-100 years.
  • Crocodiles have adapted to be almost unseen when in the water. While on a private airboat tour, you may only catch sight of their nostrils and eyes poking above the water.
  • American crocodiles are typically as calm and aloof as alligators, but are known to be aggressive and can attack anything in the water near them.

These amazing creatures are a valued part of the Everglades. They might appear calm, but they’re still wild animals, and are most safely seen on a guided airboat tour. Being able to observe alligators, crocodiles, and the many different species of Everglades wildlife here at Mack’s Fish Camp on an airboat tour offers an experience like no other!