Alligatoridae

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Alligators and Caimans
Temporal range: Cretaceous - Recent
American Alligator
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Sauropsida
Order: Crocodilia
Family: Alligatoridae
Gray, 1844
Living Genera

Alligators and Caimans make up the second largest family of the crocodilians, Alligatoridae. There are 4 genera and about 7 known species of Alligatorids. Alligatorids range in size depending on species. The Chinese alligator (Aligator sinensis) is usually about 1.5 metres (4.9 ft) while the American Alligator (A. mississippiensis) is usually 4 m (13 ft). The largest American alligator was 5.79 m (19.0 ft) long. The Black Caiman of the Amazon can reach as much as 6 m (20 ft).

Alligatorids live in the southern United States, Central America, northern South America and near the Yangzee river in China.

Alligators vs crocodiles[change | change source]

There are several differences between alligators and crocodiles. Alligators have shorter and wider snouts. They prefer fresh water to saltwater. Crocodiles have a gland that removes much of the salt. Alligators do not have this gland. In alligators, the fourth tooth of their lower jaw fits into a pit in the upper jaw. In crocodilians this tooth fits into a groove on the outside of the jaw. Alligators are also less aggressive than crocodilids. Usually only the largest of the species are a threat to humans.

Species[change | change source]