Alligator or Crocodile? How Do You Know?

Written by Melissa Stewart

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Seems like nothing is more fascinating to a second grader than crocodiles and other semi-monsters. Usually, kids wonder about the difference between alligators and crocodiles. This book, part of the “Which Animal is Which?” series, gives definitive answers for that difference in a way that second graders can understand.

Alligators live in fresh water. Crocodiles can live in salt water. The reptiles’ snouts are shaped differently. Alligators have a wider jaw and are a darker color. Only a few of an alligator’s top teeth show when its mouth is closed. Crocodiles show most of their teeth with their mouths closed. Alligator mothers make mounds for their eggs. Crocodile mothers dig holes. Alligator mothers stay with the babies for up to a year. Crocodiles leave the young once they reach the water. All these ideas are easily accessible and memorable for kids.

The photographs included provide wonderful illustrations of the concepts discussed. Who can resist the smile of a crocodile? And it’s amazing how, even in a photograph, the reptiles disappear in the water. The “Words to Know” section at the beginning of the book is especially helpful for comprehension as it relates to the National Science Education Standards for K-4 and Common Core Standards. The websites mentioned are all reputable, though they are at much higher reading levels than this book. The table of contents, books section, and index are also very helpful to learning. Especially useful, is the world map of where these creatures live. The publisher’s website,, is good for searching out other titles about this and other subjects. And the publisher has a free pdf educator’s guide available, including many reading activities and reading worksheets.

  • AlligatorTitle: Alligator or Crocodile? How Do You Know?
  • Written By: Melissa Stewart
  • Publisher: Enslow Elementary/Enslow Publishers, Inc.
  • Reviewer: Sue Poduska
  • Paperback: 24 pages
  • ISBN: 978-1-59845-234-1
  • Genre: Nature, Reptiles

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