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Alligators and Crocodiles (Grade 5)

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Alligators and Crocodiles

Have you ever heard someone say, "See you later, alligator?" Often the response is, "In a while, crocodile." Both of these silly rhymes are funny. However, the funniest part may be that alligators and crocodiles are almost never found living in the same place. It is easy to confuse the two reptiles. They both look a lot alike. However, they are very different creatures.

First, the two animals live in different types of habitats. Crocodiles like salt water like the water found in oceans. They live in almost all parts of the world. Alligators, on the other hand, prefer the fresh water of lakes and swamps. Most live in the United States and China. The only place in the world where both types of reptiles are found is in the Everglades. This national park is a wetland containing both types of water.

Second, the noses of these reptiles are quite different. Crocodiles have long, narrow, pointed snouts that made a V-shape. They look like they are smiling, and showing some of their teeth. Their jaws are extremely strong and they can capture tough snacks like turtles, cows, or even small elephants. Alligators have U-shaped snouts and their teeth stay hidden until they are ready to take a bite of something tasty. They prefer to munch on smaller prey, including birds, fish or deer.

If you are trying to tell the difference between these two reptiles, do it from behind the thick glass of zoo window. One thing the two creatures do have in common is they are strong and they are not afraid to attack humans if they feel threatened.
1. 
How are alligators and crocodiles alike?
  1. They both prefer to live in salt water.
  2. They both capture very large animals to eat.
  3. They both can be found living in the Everglades.
  4. They both have the same shape of snout and teeth.
2. 
Where would you most likely find a crocodile?
  1. In a lake
  2. In a swamp
  3. In an ocean
  4. In a marsh
3. 
How does an alligator differ from a crocodile?
  1. It keeps its teeth hidden until it strikes.
  2. It prefers larger, tougher prey for meals.
  3. It will attack a human if it feels threatened.
  4. It has a longer, narrower snout shaped like a V.
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