_A.mississippiensis_ on the prowl

The ALLIGATORIDAE is the second largest family of the crocodylians. These animals are characterized by having larger, broader, and more robust snouts, than crocodylids, they are able to withstand colder temperatures than crocodylids also and the most important part, their fourth tooth of the lower jaw fits into a pit in the upper jaw. In crocodylians this tooth is the largest. In fact it is the equivalant of a tiger's fangs. And just like a tiger's fangs, these teeth fit into special places in the jaw. In Alligatorids this place is a pit in the upper jaw, while in crocodylids it is a groove on the outside of the jaw. Alligatorids comprise 4 genera and about 7 known species. This group is not as active as the crocodylids, but they are able to withstand much colder temperatures and therefore can handle higher elevations. They are also less aggressive than crocodylids.

While the alligatorids aren't the largest in the group, they are still known to attain great sizes. American Alligators were once known to reach 18-20 feet and there was even a report of the Black caiman reaching such a length. Truly impressive.

Below is a list of all the living alligatorids. Use the form on the right to choose which species you would like to learn more about.

More to come


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