That crocodile smile....

Crocodiles certainly have a fixed grin, but do they also cry?   Crocs do shed tears, but not for the reasons we do.  When a crocodile has been out of the water for a long time, his eyes will start to dry out and tears will form.  For more about crocodile tears, click here.

Now let's take a look at the true crocodile.....and see if we can discover ways to tell him apart from alligators, caimans, and gharials.

General: There are more than a dozen different kinds of crocodile.  Some can live in salt water (which makes sunning on the beaches of southern Florida a bit scary!) Let's look at three simple IKs* for crocodiles and the corresponding photos:
1st IK: Narrow, v-shaped snout.**
2nd IK: When the mouth is closed, the upper and lower teeth show, and a noticeable indent in the crocodile's snout allows room for the jutting lower fourth tooth.
3rd IK: Adults are of a tan, brown or brown color.
These IKs may soon have you able to recognize a crocodile anywhere! Stay tuned for my next post on alligators, and start looking for the differences.

On many of my blog posts, I will have photos showing readily identifiable characteristics of each animal. I will provide a general description that gives clues to help identify the animal, and then some specific Identification Key, or IKs, as seen and described in the photos. (More about identification keys here.)

** The mugger crocodile, found in the fresh water of India and surrounding areas, has a u-shaped snout which gives it an alligator look.  The mugger is brown or gray in color, however, and has the tell-tale notch in the snout to accommodate the jutting lower tooth. See a pic of him below!

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