How do you tell the difference between a crocodile and an alligator?

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Yes, you can grow an eight foot gator in twelve years, but as with all reptiles, growth rate varies ~dramatically~ depending on the health, feeding opportunities, and average temperature range of the animal. Given the proper combination of the three, you can grow a twelve foot alligator (or crocodile) in eight years. However, a wild gator that's eight years old and had to spend it's first few years of life eating roaches, insects, small minnows, and perhaps the occasional crawdad, might not be more than five feet long. There are 23 species of crocodilian worldwide. Some people lump caimans in with alligators, but really there are only two species of alligator... one being the American Alligator, native to the southeastern United States, the other being the Chinese alligator, which is severely endangered and only found on certain stretches of the Yangtzee river in China. Crocodiles can be found worldwide in tropical waters. I will not get into caimans and gavials just to keep this ... more
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