What Are the Different Types of Crocodiles?

Written by nancy hayden
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What Are the Different Types of Crocodiles?
The American crocodile is the only species of Crocodylidae native to North America. (Jupiterimages/Photos.com/Getty Images)

Worldwide, 23 species of crocodilian exist, separated into three different families: alligatoridae, crocodylidae and gavialidae. Of these species, 14 fall into the family crocodylidae and are commonly known as crocodiles. Species of crocodile can be found in tropical, hot climate areas all around the globe from the Americas to Australia.

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Crocodiles of the Americas

Most of the world's alligator species are found in the Americas, but only four species of crocodiles are native. The American crocodile is found in the southern U.S. and all the way down to Central and South America. It is a large species, reaching lengths of up to 16 feet. The Orinoco crocodile, found in Venezuela and Columbia, also reaches lengths of around 16 feet. Found in countries like Belize, Guatemala and Mexico, Morelet's crocodile reaches lengths of around 10 feet. The Cuban crocodile is a medium-sized species ranging between 10 and 16 feet in length.

African Crocodiles

Of the world's crocodile species, three are found on the continent of Africa. The Nile crocodile is found throughout much of Africa and Madagascar. It is a large species, reaching lengths of 19 feet. The slender-snouted crocodile is found in central-western parts of Africa and grows to 13 feet in length. The African dwarf crocodile shares much of the range of the slender-snouted variety and is much smaller. The species has been recorded at a top length of more than 6 feet.

Asian Crocodiles

Asia is home to four of the world's crocodile species. The mugger crocodile, native to India, has the broadest snout of all crocodile species and grows to 16 feet. The Philippine crocodile is found on the islands from which its name comes. It is a small species and grows to just short of 10 feet. The Siamese crocodile is found in Cambodia, Indonesia and Borneo. It is a smaller species, growing to around 10 feet. The false gharial has a long slender snout and is found in Malaysia and Indonesia. The species grows to around 16 feet in length.

Australian Crocodiles

Australia is home to the largest crocodile species, the saltie. Living in coastal rivers and shallow oceanic areas, the saltwater crocodile grows to more than 20 feet. It is also found in areas of southeast Asia. Australia's freshwater crocodile is half the size at just less than 10 feet and found only in the northern areas of the country. Located near Australia, the islands of Papau New Guinea are home to the last crocodile species. The New Guinea crocodile can grow to between 10 and 11 feet in length and looks much like a Siamese crocodile.

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