The snouts of crocodylians vary from species to species. The biggest difference is usually in the width of the snout. For instance an American alligator (Alligator mississippiensis) has a very wide snout that allows it to handle the hard parts of animals like turtles, which are animals adult gators seem to like. In contrast the snout of an African slender-snouted crocodile (Crocodylus cataphractus) is much thinner. This thin snout is helpful for snapping up fish in streams and small, fast, vertebrates. Each snout shape has it's own advantage. The alligator's wide snout
is good for handling it's wide variety of food. Alligators rely on their stealth and power to take down their prey. In contrast the slender-snouted croc relies more on speed than strength and a thinner snout cuts through the air a lot faster.
This thinning of the snout is taken to an extreme with the Indian gharial (Gavialis gangeticus) which has a snout so thin that it gives the animal a very strange appearance. Gharials, being only fish eaters need the thinnest possible snouts in order to cut through the fast moving water to grab it's fish.
So as we see each crocodylian has it's own custom tailored snout to deal with it's food requirements.
Back OneBack All