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Are Crocodiles Bigger than Alligators? (Size Comparison)

In general, crocodiles are bigger than alligators although there is variation between species and individual animals. The biggest recorded crocodile was around 20 feet (6m) long, while the largest alligator was only 14 feet (4.3m).

Saltwater Crocodile

There are more extant species of crocodiles, and they have evolved better than their cousins. Crocodiles do not stop growing, but alligators do. 

What is the Largest Recorded Crocodile?

The biggest crocodile in history was a crocodile from the Philippines called Lolong. He was over 20 feet long (6.17m) and weighed 2,370 lbs (1075kg). He was caught in 2011 and was 50 years old.

Lolong was a saltwater crocodile that lived in the Philippines. At the time of his death, he measured 6.17 meters or 20 feet and three inches. His weight was 1,075 kilograms or 2,370 pounds. The cause of death was pneumonia and cardiac arrest.

It was in September 2011 when people caught Lolong in a creek in the Philippines. The hunt was a joint effort between the government and the locals. It took them three weeks to hunt him and 100 people to bring him on land. 

Based on estimates, he was 50 years old upon capture. The people hunted him because he was suspected of eating a fisherman and a 12-year-old girl. The girl’s head was discovered two years prior to Lolong’s capture. 

The town of Bunawan made Lolong a spectacle. They put him as a centerpiece in an ecotourism park. Lolong was put in an enclosure in the Bunawan Ecopark and Wildlife Reservation. 

In 2012, an Australian zoologist and crocodile expert paid Lolong a visit. This zoologist was Dr. Adam Britton. He went there to measure the crocodile, and thus Lolong was announced as the world’s largest crocodile in captivity by the Guinness Book of World Records.

Read More: Crocodiles vs Caiman (Differences Explained)

Lolong the Crocodile - Skeleton
Lolong’s impressive skeleton is now on display in the National Museum of Natural History in Manila

What is the Largest Recorded Alligator? 

The largest alligator on record was an American alligator (Alligator mississippiensis) that was caught and killed in Alabama in 2014. It measured 14 feet and nine inches (4.5m). 

Lately, a viral video of a huge alligator surfaced and went viral online.

People claim it is the biggest documented alligator. However, it is subject to debate because the only evidence was a video that a woman posted on Twitter. The estimate is that it was at l east 12 feet, but some say it is bigger.

Alligator in a river
Alligators can grow up to around 4.5m (14ft) in length.

Do Alligators Stop Growing?

It is a myth that alligators do not stop growing. A 35-year study by renowned alligator biologist Phil Wilkinson was published in 2017, showing that alligators stop growing at between 25 and 35 years of age. This study was published in the scientific journal and ended decades of debate over alligator growth.

In 1993, Mr Wilkinson noticed that some of the alligators stopped growing after hitting a specific age range between 25 and 35. This pattern is what scientists call determinant growth. Some studies have also shown similar results with some freshwater crocodiles.

Read More: Can Crocodiles and Alligators Mate?

This 35-year-long study shows that alligators stop growing once they hit the age of 35. Alligators live long lives with a similar lifespan to humans. As such, it isn’t easy to study them, making the 35-year study which began in the 1970s all the more impressive.

Researcher Phil Wilkinson explains how Alligators got their name

Do Crocodiles Stop Growing?

It is a myth that crocodiles do not stop growing. Like the vast majority of other animals, crocodiles stop growing once they reach adulthood.

Commenting on an article by VICE news about the supposed “Immortality” of crocodiles, Crocodile expert Dr. Adam Britton clarified that crocodiles are not immortal, and they don’t grow indefinitely.

A 2016 tweet by Dr. Britton, confirming the mortality of crocodiles.

In an interview for Earth Touch News, another crocodile expert, Dr Adam Rosenblatt, confirmed that while crocodile aging isn’t yet fully understood, they are not immortal.

The effects of aging on crocodiles is clearly visible. Aging crocodiles lose their teeth, some of them develop illnesses like cataracts, and the females eventually produce fewer eggs. 

FAQs:

What is the Largest Crocodile Species?

The largest species of crocodile is the Saltwater Crocodile (Crocodylus porosus), which can grow to a length of up to 23 feet (6.5m) and weigh up to 2.200lbs (1000kg).

Saltwater crocodiles are larger than every other species of crocodile and alligator, and are earth’s largest reptile.

Saltwater Croc
Saltwater Crocodiles (Crocodylus porosus) are Earth’s Largest Reptiles

What is the Largest Prehistoric Crocodile?

The largest crocodile species that ever lived was the Sarchosuchus imperator. It measured 40 feet and weighed 17,600 pounds. Its remains were found in the African Sahara. Experts believed that it lived in large river systems abundant with food. 

Read More: Are Crocodiles Dinosaurs?

What is the Largest Species of Alligator?

The largest species of alligator is the American alligator (Alligator mississippiensis), which is found in rivers and swamps across the southwestern United States.

Summary

Crocodiles are bigger than alligators. Today, there are only two species of alligators left, if one will not include the caimans. Despite this, the crocodile is still the biggest among all crocodilian species. 

The biggest crocodile ever captured was Lolong, who measured 20 feet and three inches. For alligators, there is a debate about it, but there certainly is not one that measures up against Lolong. All crocodilians grow old and die. They also stop growing, contrary to what many people say. 

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