Other Free Encyclopedias » Animal Life Resource » Dinosaurs, Snakes, and Other Reptiles » Crocodiles and False Gharials: Crocodylidae - Physical Characteristics, Habitat, Diet, Behavior And Reproduction, Conservation Status, American Crocodile (crocodylus Acutus): Species Accounts - GEOGRAPHIC RANGE, FALSE GHARIALS CROCODILES AND PEOPLE

Crocodiles and False Gharials: Crocodylidae - Physical Characteristics

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Fourteen species of crocodiles make up this family, including one called a false gharial. (An Indian gharial also exists, but it is not a crocodile and is instead listed in its own separate family.) The crocodiles are medium to large reptiles, with adults ranging from about 5 feet (1.5 meters) long in the smallest species to 20 feet (6.1 meters) long in the largest. Within species, females are smaller overall. For example, female Johnstone's crocodiles typically grow to 5 feet (1.5 meters), while the average male is about 6.5 feet (2 meters) long. In all species, the tail is about as long as the rest of the body.

Crocodiles, alligators, and caimans are often confused because they all have armor-like scales on the back and tail, a powerful tail, a pair of back legs that are stronger and larger than the front pair, and toes that are webbed on the back pair of feet and unwebbed on the front pair. Perhaps most noticeably, they also all share a long snout filled with teeth. Crocodiles, however, have something the others lack. Counting from the front of the mouth, the large fourth tooth on each side of a crocodile's lower jaw shows outside of the mouth when the jaw is closed. In other species, this large tooth is hidden, although many other teeth on the upper jaw may be visible when the mouth is clamped shut.

Crocodiles and False Gharials: Crocodylidae - Habitat [next]

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