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Alligators Crocodiles Caimans and Gharials: Crocodylia

Physical Characteristics, Geographic Range, Habitat, Diet, Behavior And ReproductionCROCODILIANS AND PEOPLE, CONSERVATION STATUS

Crocodilians, which are sometimes hunted for their meat or skin, are perhaps best known as human killers. Death by this reptile, however, is very rare among people who act carefully and responsibly when they are in crocodilian habitat. As people move closer and closer to their habitat, crocodilians may make their presence known by plopping into a swimming pool or eating a family pet.

According to the World Conservation Union (IUCN), almost one-third of the 23 crocodilian species are either Critically Endangered or Endangered. Critically Endangered species are those that face an extremely high risk of extinction in the wild, while Endangered species face a very high risk. The other 16 species are currently doing quite well, thanks to numerous recovery efforts and anti-hunting regulations that have saved them from the brink of extinction.



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Irwin, Steve, and Terri Irwin. The Crocodile Hunter. New York: Penguin Putnam, 1997.

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Ross, C. A., ed. Crocodiles and Alligators. New York: Facts on File, 1989.

Rue, Leonard Lee. Alligators and Crocodiles. Wigston, Leicester: Magna Books, 1994.


Barr, Alice. "Supercroc." National Geographic World. January–February 2001, page 8.

Grant, Phoebe. "A Peep at the Alligator's Mound." Monkeyshines on America. June 1990, page 19.

Perkins, Sid. "Fossils Indicate . . . Wow, What a Croc!" Science News. October 27, 2001, volume 160, page 260.

Zackowitz, Margaret. "Dangerous Business: Photographing Crocodiles and Hippos is a Creative Challenge." National Geographic for Kids. November 2001, page 26.

Web sites:

"All About Alligators." Enchanted Learning. http://www.enchantedlearning.com/subjects/Alligator.shtml (accessed on September 21, 2004).

"Alligator." Everglades National Park. http://www.nps.gov/ever/eco/gator.htm (accessed on September 21, 2004).

"Alligator." World Almanac for Kids. http://www.worldalmanacforkids.com/explore/animals/alligator.html (accessed on September 21, 2004).

"Alligators and Crocodiles." San Diego Zoo. http://www.sandiegozoo.org/animalbytes/t-crocodile.html (accessed on September 21, 2004).

"American Crocodile." Kids' Planet, Defenders of Wildlife. http://www.kidsplanet.org/factsheets/american_crocodile.html (accessed on September 21, 2004).

"Fathers and Sons." Florida Museum of Natural History. http://www.flmnh.ufl.edu/cnhc/potm-oct00.html (accessed on September 21, 2004).

"Gharial." Smithsonian National Zoological Park. http://nationalzoo.si.edu/Animals/ReptilesAmphibians/Facts/FactSheets/Gharial.cfm (accessed on September 21, 2004).

"Nile Crocodiles." National Geographic. http://www.nationalgeographic.com/kids/creature_feature/0107/crocodiles2.html (accessed on September 21, 2004).

"Saltwater Crocodile." Australian Museum. http://www.amonline.net.au/wild_kids/reptiles/crocodile.htm (accessed on September 21, 2004).

"Spectacled Caiman." Enchanted Learning. http://www.enchantedlearning.com/subjects/reptiles/caiman/Speccaiman.shtml (accessed on September 21, 2004).

"Wild Things: The Not-So-Friendly Caiman." Kidzworld. http://www.kidzworld.com/site/p483.htm (accessed on September 21, 2004).

Additional topics

Animal Life ResourceDinosaurs, Snakes, and Other Reptiles