Difference Between Crocodiles and Alligators

When you think about encountering a crocodile or alligator in Fort Lauderdale, it’s not as far-fetched as it might seem–and that can leave you with serious injuries. If you’ve been hurt in an incident with a crocodile or alligator, contact Cowen Edwards today for a free consultation.

What’s the Difference Between Crocodiles and Alligators?

At first glance, it’s difficult to see the difference between a crocodile and an alligator. While they’re closely related, there’s some key differences:

  • Snout shape – One of the most noticeable differences is their snout shape. Crocodiles usually have V-shaped snouts, while alligators have U-shaped snouts. This is easiest to see when their mouths are closed.
  • Habitat – Crocodiles are found in more saltwater habitats, many of which you’ll find in Fort Lauderdale, although some also prefer freshwater rivers and lakes. Alligators, on the other hand, are typically found in freshwater environments like swamps, ponds, and lakes.
  • Coloration – Alligators tend to have darker, almost black coloration, while crocodiles are often lighter in color, with shades of olive green and brown.
  • Teeth – When their mouths are closed, you can see the teeth of both animals, but in crocodiles, the fourth tooth on the lower jaw is visible, even when the mouth is closed. This tooth isn’t visible in alligators.
  • Behavior – Alligators are usually less aggressive than crocodiles. Crocodiles are often more territorial and can be more aggressive towards humans.

Obviously, if you get close enough to see these differences, you should be extremely careful. Both crocodiles and alligators can be extremely aggressive when they want to defend their territory.

Common Incidents and Injuries

While interactions with crocodiles and alligators aren’t as common as other animals in Fort Lauderdale, it’s not without incidents–and injuries. This is especially true if you spend a lot of time near the water. So, being around ponds, lakes, and other sources could lead you right into the path of one of these animals. Here’s some of the more common incidents and injuries you could have to deal with:

  • Bites – The most serious incidents involve bites from alligators or crocodiles. These can occur if you get too close to the animal or disturb it in its natural habitat.

  • Provoked attacks – Alligators and crocodiles are generally not aggressive toward humans unless provoked. Trying to feed, touch, or harass them can lead to defensive or aggressive behavior.

  • Ambush attacks near water – Both animals are known for their ability to ambush prey near water bodies. Approaching the water’s edge, especially at night, can increase the risk of surprise encounters.

  • Scratches and bruises – In some cases, you might experience minor injuries such as scratches or bruises while trying to escape from an aggressive alligator or crocodile.

  • Car accidents – Alligators sometimes wander onto roads, especially in areas near water bodies. This, obviously, can lead to car accidents and all of its associated issues.

  • Nuisance – Alligators and crocodiles sometimes show nuisance behavior, such as frequenting swimming areas or approaching residential areas in search of food. While not directly harmful, such behavior can pose risks to you and your pets.

What to do

Whenever you or someone you care about get hurt in one of these incidents, it becomes important to protect your health and legal rights:

  • Get medical attention
  • Report the incident to the property owner or management (if it occurred on someone’s property)
  • Contact your insurance company
  • Gather as much evidence as you can

Taking these steps are important, but another important aspect is figuring out who’s at fault. This will then allow you to file an injury claim by either:

  • Making a claim with insurance
  • Filing a lawsuit

The goal of this process is to get financial support, called “damages,” to help with things like:

  • Paying for medical bills.
  • Making up for lost wages if you miss work.
  • Getting financial considerations for pain and suffering or emotional distress.
  • Getting financial support for missing out on activities you enjoy or strained relationships.
  • Covering funeral expenses if someone died in the accident.

Dealing with any accident and all the problems that come with it can be really hard on your own. Our team is here to help make things easier for you and your family. We’re dedicated to making sure you get the help you need after being hurt by an alligator or crocodile.

Experienced Fort Lauderdale Personal Injury Lawyers

If you’ve been injured an accident in Fort Lauderdale and need guidance, reach out to our team at Cowen Edwards. We understand how tough it can be, especially with serious injuries and uncertain recovery after an incident with a crocodile or alligator. You might also be struggling with big medical bills and other changes that are impacting your life. We can help. Contact us today for a free, no-obligation consultation.