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Crocodile or Alligator - What’s the Difference?

3. Habitat

Crocodile Habitat

Freshwater or saltwater? Crocodiles have special glands on their tongues that let them get rid of excess salt in their bodies. Therefore, they can live in both salt water and brackish water. But they prefer rivers and lakes. Crocodiles are found in many parts of the world, especially in Africa, Asia, Australia and America.

Crocodile Crocodile - Photo: Africa Rising/Shutterstock

Alligator Habitat

The alligator also has these glands, but they don't work in the same way as in the crocodile. As a result, alligators are found almost exclusively in fresh water, primarily in swamps, moors, rivers, and lakes.

Another tip: If you happen to be in the southern United States or near the Yangtze River in China - only here do alligators roam. Anywhere else in the world you look into the eyes of a crocodile.

Another tip: If you happen to be in the South of the USA or near the Yangtze River in China - then you'll probably meet an alligator. In the rest of the world, you are looking at a crocodile.

Alligator Alligator - Photo: Rudy Umans/Shutterstock

Caiman Habitat and Distribution

Caimans live in fresh water, especially in swamps and slow-moving waters. They are common in South America and Central America.

Gharial Habitat and Distribution

Gharials also live in fresh water. They are found in rivers and lakes in Nepal and northern India.


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