Are alligators lizards? That’s an interesting question! Some people seem to think they are just like lizards, whereas others believe that the only similarity is that they’re both reptiles. Biologists who study these animals have learned that there are a whole lot of differences between alligators and lizards, as you’ll find out in this article.
Are Alligators lizards?
Answer: NO! They are both reptiles, but they have very different body shapes. Alligators belong to the order Crocodilia while lizards belong to the order Squamata. However, both orders of reptile have a lot of differences from other types of animal: cold-bloodedness (basically meaning they don’t use their internal organs to generate their body heat), lay eggs, and usually do not burrow.
Let’s start by talking about what alligators and lizards DO have in common:
- They’re both cold-blooded animals meaning their body temperature varies with the temperature around them.
- They both shed their skins.
- Alligators and lizards both lay eggs that are fertilized by the male.
- Alligators and lizards have similar shapes, but they’re not exactly the same, so they don’t look alike at all! Not every alligator is a worker, and not every lizard is an adult. Remember, these are reptiles. They have more than one kind of body part (such as legs or eyes), to be different sizes or have very different colors.
Differences between Alligators and Lizards
- The most obvious difference is size… Alligators are more than twice as big as lizards. Alligators can be nearly two meters long (6 feet), while a lizard just about needs to be one meter long (3 feet).
- Alligators are mostly covered in scales while lizards are almost always covered in spiny scales.
- Alligators usually have very long tails, which they use for swimming. Lizards usually do not have tails at all! They also do not eat their tails („lizard” means „scale” in Latin). Their tail is a part of them, but it is mostly used to control movement.
- Alligators have a large head, which is where their nostrils are located. Lizards have smaller heads and nostrils that are closer to the top of their skulls.
- Alligators usually swim in water, while lizards almost never do! They don’t even normally burrow (even though geckos will occasionally make a tunnel under some rocks).
- Alligators reach sexual maturity at about four to six years old, while lizards tend to mature a lot later in life (about 20 years). Alligators are also larger and faster-moving than iguanas.
- Alligators have two eyes that look straight ahead, while lizards only have one big eye (usually) looking straight ahead.
- Alligators usually eat fish as well as other reptiles and amphibians. Lizards almost never eat fish! They almost never eat other reptiles either, though they will sometimes eat carrion, or dead animals when there is no other food available.
Which animals are similar to alligators?
There are many animals with some similarities to crocodiles or alligators. One of the closest animals to them is the caiman, which is also found in South America.
The caiman is a smaller reptile than the alligator or crocodile. Another animal includes: Birds of prey & marine mammals are similar to crocodiles and alligators. They all have a body shape with four limbs, but they differ in the way they use their limbs.
Alligators and crocodiles walk on 2 limbs, birds and marine mammals walk on 4 limbs. Birds of prey hunt by flying through the air (often), while marine mammals swim underwater (mostly).
Which animals are similar to lizards? Answer: The most similar animal to lizards are snakes, as they are both reptiles. Snakes are only found in the northern hemisphere (the southern hemisphere has no snakes). There aren’t any reptiles that burrow or lay eggs.
Interesting facts about Alligators:
- Alligators and crocodiles are reptiles (cold-blooded animals with scales). • The Latin name for alligators is 'Alligator mississippiensis’.
- The scientific name for alligators comes from the Greek words 'Allos’ which means „different” and 'sphaira’ meaning „ball”. This is because of their different-shaped head compared to crocodiles.
- Alligators were first described in 1758 by Carolus Linnaeus. He called them 'Crocodilus mississippiensis’.
- The scientists who have studied alligators, know that the average alligator is about 3 metres (9 feet) long when they are fully grown. This means that a male alligator can grow to be between 4.5 and 6.4 feet long (1.4 and 2 meters). A female alligator can grow up to be around 3 metres (9 feet) long, or even longer!
Conclusion on Are Lizards and Alligators the Same
To sum up, alligators and lizards have a lot in common… but enough key differences that they are not the same. So are alligators lizards? No – they’re not. I hope you found this article helpful and be sure to check out the site for more related content.
Lydia King is a huge animal lover and has always been fascinated with learning about the animal kingdom. She enjoys writing about anything animal related from scientific information about rare species to animal references in pop culture.