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Alligators Around the World

MG is an air warrior and a global traveler well as an amateur astrologer who loves to visit and explore new places.



I have always been fascinated by crocodiles and alligators and whenever I go to the zoo, I make it a point to visit the enclosures with these fascinating reptiles. Many people are confused as to what is the difference between a crocodile and an alligator. Both the species belong to the same group but have different subgroups and there are significant differences between the two. Crocodiles live from 72 -100 years while alligators live up to the age of 50. Crocodiles also are much larger in size while an alligator can maximum reach a length of 3.5 m.

Alligators are powerful amphibious reptiles with a long mouth and sharp teeth They belong to the Crocodylia, family: Alligatoridae, genus: alleger group. Many of the Alligator species are extinct but they are still found in large numbers in the Americas but their numbers are dwindling in China and SE Asia, in particular in India and Thailand. The species that have become extinct are mcgrewi, Mefferd, Olsen, and the prenasal.

It must be understood that there is a difference between crocodiles and alligators. They are 2 distinct species and the crocodile belongs to the Crocodylidae family while Alligator belongs to the Alligatoridae family. We must also know that there are no alligators in Africa which have only crocodiles. Crocodiles are known to eat people, but alligators attack but do not eat people. In addition, crocodiles prefer seawater as they have special glands that can filter the salt of the seawater. Alligators are freshwater animals only.


Types of reptiles

An alligator is the most powerful of the amphibious animals and a laboratory test has concluded that the American alligator has the most powerful bite which when measured came to almost 9400 Newtons. The important species of alligators are enumerated below.

-The Indian or southeast Asian Alligator. The Indian alligator is comparatively smaller in size to the American or African alligator being anything from 3 to 8 feet long. It inhabits the rivers and lakes in this region. The rivers in the region in particular the Brahmaputra and the Cauvery are infested with alligators. Recently two Britishers on a rafting expedition in the Cauvery River in South India were attacked and killed by the Alligators. The Indian Alligator is also referred to as the Gharial (Gavialis gangeticus) and is native to India. It is one of the longest living crocodiles. This reptile thrives on fish and has a long snout. The Gharial is however under threat and its population has declined by 90% from 1946.

-American Alligator. In contrast to the Indian alligator that is bordering on extinction, the American reptile is thriving. It also is larger and grows to a length of 1-13 feet and weighs anything from 170 to 800 pounds. American rivers notably the Mississippi are infested with alligators. In addition, this beast is fairly represented in the wild; the American states around the Mississippi river. It is interesting to learn that almost 1.5 million alligators are crammed in Louisiana with Florida a close second. this is because of the many marshes and ponds there. While Florida is especially well-known for its alligator population, Louisiana is actually home to more of these giants, with a population of approximately 1.5 - 2 million gators.

-Chinese Alligator. Alligators in China are almost extinct. Very few of the species have survived and efforts are on now to conserve the Chinese reptile. The Chinese is much smaller than the American, being closer in size to the Indian alligator. It reaches a length of about 5 feet and weighs less than 100 pounds. As things stand just about 1000 of this species remain in the waters of China.

- African Crocodile. The African croc has its own distinctive habitat and characteristics. It is one of Africa’s most famous animals and is known for its powerful jaws and explosive ambush attacks. The Nile reptile has a fearsome reputation as a man-eater. The reptile plays a vital role in the African ecosystem and several species are currently threatened, with one, the slender-snouted croc, being rated ‘critically endangered.’ Sadly many tribes in Africa hunt crocodiles for their meat and skins.

Gharial-Indian crocodile

Gharial-Indian crocodile

A threatened species

Alligators are under threat of extinction, particularly in China and SE Asia. One reason for the alligator becoming almost extinct in China is that the alligators were killed en masse for tonics and cures in Chinese traditional medicine. But now there is greater awareness and the Chinese are trying to breed the alligators in zoos and releasing them in the rivers.

The American Alligators were also on the endangered species list at one time. They were first classified as an endangered species in 1967 by the US Fish Wildlife Service. Due to legal protection, the population of gators has boomed in just 20 years and now many feel there are too many of them and their population needs to be reduced. In India, the Gharial is also veering towards extinction and a lot has to done to conserve the Gharial.

All said and done the crocodile and alligator look fearsome but add luster to wildlife


MG Singh emge (author) from Singapore on December 29, 2020:

Chitra, thank you very much for reading and commenting

MG Singh emge (author) from Singapore on December 29, 2020:

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Thank you, Greaney, for commenting.Sadly the efforts to save the alligator in China are not working out mainly because many Chinese would like to kill it and use it for medicinal purposes.

Chitrangada Sharan from New Delhi, India on December 29, 2020:

Nice and informative article about alligators.

I appreciate you for sharing this information with the readers. Thank you.

Sp Greaney from Ireland on December 29, 2020:

I know very little about these creatures. It's interesting to read this though and learn about the differences between them both. I hope those three countires manage to succeed in their endeavours to reduce the risk of the alligator becoming extinct. Be sad if they disappeared altogether.

MG Singh emge (author) from Singapore on December 29, 2020:

Thanks, Tom, the Chinese use it also for medicinal purposes and that is an ancient science. No wonder these reptiles are extinct in China.

MG Singh emge (author) from Singapore on December 29, 2020:

Thank you, Tom, there is no doubt the conservation efforts in India are poor.No wonder the Indian Gharial is almost getting extinct. The BSF has to face these saltwater crocs and as we know from the battle at Ramree in Burma these saltwater crocs are formidable adverseries

tom on December 28, 2020:

crocodile skin used for vanity bags

tom on December 28, 2020:

mugger crocodile in kutch,few apperciates the hazards of bsf,poor conservation in india

MG Singh emge (author) from Singapore on December 28, 2020:

Thank you Peggy. The problem in the east is that there is a miss placed notion that crocodiles have medicinal properties and hence hunted and killed.

MG Singh emge (author) from Singapore on December 28, 2020:

Pamela, thank you. The American Marshlands are teaming with alligators and there have been many instances of them crossing the roads and parks.

MG Singh emge (author) from Singapore on December 28, 2020:

Thank you Osman Ghazi for commenting.

MG Singh emge (author) from Singapore on December 28, 2020:

The Sundarban saltwater crocodile co exists with the Royal Bengal tiger which is also amphibious.

tom on December 28, 2020:

sunderbans salt water crocodiles vs bsf

Peggy Woods from Houston, Texas on December 28, 2020:

We have many alligators in parts of Texas. They are in many of the bayous that run through the Houston area. I did not know that they were being threatened with extinction in China and SE Asia.

Pamela Oglesby from Sunny Florida on December 28, 2020:

This is a very interesting article about alligators, MG. I didn't know were near extinction in Indian and China. There are many alligators in Florida, where I live.

Unfortunately, in the everglades some people have left crockodiles, so there are quite a few now in an area that was just for alligators.

Osman Ghazi on December 28, 2020:


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