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What is the difference between Alligators, crocodiles and caymans?

Alligators and crocodiles are in the Order Crocodilae, but in different families. Caymans are included in the alligator family. A good way to tell them apart is by their noses. Alligators and caymans have a "U" shaped nose, whereas Crocs have "V" shaped nose. The teeth also show a difference...alligators show their front teeth when their mouths are closed and crocs show both upper and lower teeth when their mouths are closed. Crocs have a lingual salt gland on their tongue, an area that can secrete excess salt out of their body. This makes them more adapted to live in saltwater environments where alligators and caymans prefer freshwater. Both have little black bumps on them called DPRs (dermal pressure receptors). These bumps can detect small pressure changes in the water helping the animal to find and capture its prey. Alligators and caymans only have these on their lower jaw while crocs have them all over their body. Since alligators and caymans are so closely related, they both have bony plates called scutes under their skin which helps to reinforce and strengthen it. The alligator does not have these on it's stomache whereas the cayman does. I hope this answers your question!

Grace Fields

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