Home Featured Post Alligators vs. Crocs – Florida vacationers can rest easy

Alligators vs. Crocs – Florida vacationers can rest easy

Typically we pick topics for the FlipKey blog based on things we think are important and relevant to the vacation rental industry. This isn’t necessarily one of those times.

Earlier in the week a friend sent me a photo of the top pictures on National Geographic in ’07. The following pic caught my eye (and luckily not my hand).


The bad news: This is a real photo.
The good news: They were able to recover the hand and successfully re-attach it to the original owner (not joking).

Ultimately the photo reminded me of the misconceptions between alligators and crocodiles. Florida represents one of the largest vacation rental markets in the world and is also one of the only geographies were both alligators and crocodiles exist.

Typically, when I return from my Florida travels friends and family often ask me if I had any crocodile run-ins. Before I answer “no”, I take the time to explain that Florida’s population of alligators far out numbers the population of crocs. In addition, Florida is only home to saltwater crocodiles which are significantly less aggressive than freshwater crocs found in Africa and Australia. The above picture is of a “Nile Crocodile” in Africa – you will not find this type of croc in Florida.

Alligators are not particularly aggressive creatures. Between 1948 to 2005 there were only 17 recorded “deaths by alligator”. That’s about 0.3 deaths per year. Comparatively, crocodiles have been responsible for 51 recorded deaths between 1990-1994. That’s nearly 13 deaths per year – nearly all of them occurring outside of the U.S. In fact, I could not find a recorded ‘death by crocodile’ in the United States.

Taken from Yahoo Answers, here is a breakdown of additional differences between alligators and crocs:

  • You can’t see an alligator’s teeth when it’s mouth is closed; its lower teeth fit snugly into pits in the upper jaw. In contrast, a crocodile’s lower teeth are always visible.
  • Alligators have a broad snout, while crocodiles have a thinner snout
  • Alligators tend to be grayish black in color, whereas crocodiles have a light tan appearance.
  • Alligators can only be found in the southeastern United States and in some parts of China. Crocodiles can be found all over the world.
  • In the wild, alligators tend to run away. While not exactly wallflowers, they certainly prefer their own company. Some species of crocodiles, on the other hand, have legendary tempers.