Alligators & Crocodiles
Information about Alligators:
The alligator is a large, semi-aquatic reptile of the order Crocodylia. There are only two extant species of alligator today: the American Alligator which lives in the murky swamps, bogs and marshes of the southeastern US. The Chinese Alligator is the other species, and sadly critically endangered due to overhunting and habitat loss. The alligator is such a well adapted animal it has hardly changed in the 200 million years it has lived on earth. This has given rise to calling it a “living fossil.” A large adult American alligator can reach about 800 pounds and have a length of 13 feet. There have been verified accounts of individuals growing even larger. The Chinese Alligator is somewhat smaller. Both species of alligator are formidable predators, and feed on fish, turtles, birds, other reptiles and mammals.
Information about Crocodiles:
Crocodiles are members of the family Crocodylidae. They are large, carnivorous reptiles found in rivers, lakes, and wetlands of the tropics. While most are freshwater, there are some that will venture into saltwater, like the famous species in Australia. Crocodiles feed mostly on vertebrate animals like fish, other reptiles, mammals and birds. Like all reptiles, crocodiles cannot regulate their body temperature, and must use environmental means – basking in the sunlight or retreating to the water or shade) to maintain an acceptable body temperature. Crocodiles have smooth skin on their belly and side, while their topside surface is armored with large scales. The armored skin is thick and rugged which protects them from thrashing prey and each other. A system of small capillaries push blood through these scales, so they’re still able to absorb warmth through their thick and tough hide.