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All 27 Types of Crocodiles (A to Z List with Pictures)

Like other animals, not all crocodiles are alike. There are three sub-families in the crocodile class, which includes the Alligatoridae, Crocodylidae, and the Gavialidae.

False Gharial (Tomistoma schlegelii)
There are 27 distinct species of crocodilian, including crocodiles, caimans, alligators, and gharials

For all these families, there is a total of 27 species. There are only two species left in the Gavialidae family, a few for the alligators and caimans, and several for the true crocodile, or Crocodylidae.

Types of Crocodiles in Family Alligatoridae (In Alphabetical Order)

1. American Alligator

Scientific NameA. mississippiensis
RangeSoutheastern United States
Size450 kg (1,000 lb) 
HabitatWetlands (inland), intertidal marine, and coastal marine
IUCN Conservation StatusLeast Concern (LC)
Estimated Population750,000–1,060,000

The American alligator is what people often refer to when they say “alligator.” It is endemic to the United States, and they are hunted down during the gator season. Alligators are different from crocodiles in the sense that they have U-shaped snouts. 

American Alligator
American Alligator (Alligator mississippiensis)

2. Chinese Alligator

Scientific NameA. sinensis
RangeEastern China
Size45 kg (100 lb)
HabitatInland wetlands
IUCN Conservation StatusCritically Endangered (CR)
Estimated Population50–100

The Chinese alligator is an endangered species. It is endemic to China, and it is revered as the muddy dragon. Some People call it the Yangtze alligator or China alligator. 

The Chinese alligator is either dark grey or black, and its body is also fully-armored. Unlike its American cousin, it is smaller, growing only to seven feet and weighing up to 100 pounds. 

During the summer, it burrows in the ground, and it brumates in the winter. It is a nocturnal hunter during summer, and it is an opportunistic feeder. 

chinese alligator
Chinese Alligator (Alligator sinensis)

3. Broad-Snouted Caiman

Scientific NameBroad-snouted caiman
RangeC. latirostris
SizeSoutheastern South America
HabitatInland wetlands and intertidal marine
IUCN Conservation Status500,000
Estimated PopulationLeast Concern (LC)

The broad-snouted caiman lives in South America. It is not a true gator, but it does belong to the same sub-family. 

It likes slow-moving waters and will often thrive in man-made cow ponds. These are bigger than the Chinese alligators, as they can grow up to eight feet. Most of them tend to be olive green, and some have spots on their faces. 

One of the most distinct characteristics of this gator is its broad snout, which is why it was named like that. The snout has the power to rip through dense vegetation, making it a suitable predator in such environments. 

Broad Snouted Caiman
Broad-Snouted Caiman (Caiman latirostris Daudin)

4. Spectacled Caiman

Scientific NameC. crocodilus
RangeNorthern South America and Central America
Size58 kg (128 lb)
HabitatForest, savanna, shrubland, grassland, and inland wetlands
IUCN Conservation StatusLeast Concern
Estimated Population1,000,000

Some people call it the white caiman or the common caiman. However, it is not white. Its color ranges from greenish to yellowish-grey. It has a ridge between its eyes, which looks like a spectacle. 

Its diet varies, but it does eat crabs, fish, and mammals. It also eats snails. This gator breeds from May to August, and it can only lay between 14 and 40 eggs. 

Spectacled Caiman
Spectacled Caiman (Caiman crocodilus)

5. Yacare Caiman

Scientific NameC. yacare
RangeCentral and southern South America
Size58 kg (128 lb)
HabitatInland wetlands
IUCN Conservation StatusLeast Concern (LC)
Estimated Population2,000,000 – 5,000,000

This caiman is brown, and it is endemic to a few countries. These are Argentina, Brazil, Bolivia, and Paraguay. They have dark blotches and can grow up to 9.8 feet. Males are typically bigger than females. 

The Yacare caimans like rivers and wetlands, and their primary diet consists of snails and aquatic animals. In the 1980s, people intensively hunted down this crocodile for its skin. Because of this, its population declined. With actions from the government, it has now recovered its population. 

Read More: Are Crocodiles Considered Mammals?

Yacare Caiman
Yacare Caiman (Caiman yacare)

6. Black Caiman

Scientific NameM. niger
RangeNorthern South America
Size680 kg (1,500 lb)
HabitatAmazon river basin
IUCN Conservation StatusLeast Concern
Estimated Population25,000-50,000

The black caiman is a large one, and it is one of the largest alligators in existence. It can grow up to 16 feet, and some even surmise that it can reach 20 feet. 

The black caiman has dark coloration once it reaches maturity. Young black caimans have white or yellow banding. These bandings do not disappear as they mature but only gets darker. 

Black Caiman
Black Caiman (Melanosuchus niger)

7. Cuvier’s Dwarf Caiman

Scientific NameP. palpebrosus
RangeNorthern and central South America
Size7 kg (13 to 15 lb)
HabitatInland wetlands
IUCN Conservation StatusLeast Concern 
Estimated PopulationUnknown

Cuvier’s dwarf caiman first appeared in the annals of science in 1807. The man who described it was French zoologist Georges Cuvier. It is one of the only two species of the Paleosuchus, an ancient reptile.

This caiman is small, and the average size of a large male is only 4.6 feet. It is the smallest of all crocodylians. Despite being small, it does have powerful body armor. It has bony bases under its scales, which gives it an extra layer of protection. 

Cuvier's Dwarf Caiman
Cuvier’s Dwarf Caiman (Paleosuchus palpebrosus)

8. Smooth-Fronted Caiman

Scientific NameP. trigonatus
RangeNorthern South America
Size36 kg (79 lb)
HabitatForest and inland wetlands
IUCN Conservation StatusLeast Concern (LC)
Estimated PopulationUnknown

Some people refer to this as Schneider’s dwarf caiman. It is native to the Amazon and Orinoco Basins, and it is the second smallest of all alligator species. 

Its head is similar in appearance to the spectacled caiman, but it has no spectacle or bony ridge between its eyes. Instead, it has large scutes at the back of its neck. It has a short tail that has bony projections to the side. 

Smooth-Fronted Caiman
Smooth-Fronted Caiman (Paleosuchus trigonatus)

Types of Crocodiles in Family Crocodylidae (In Alphabetical Order)

1. American Crocodile

Scientific NameC. acutus
RangeNorthern South America, Central America, Greater Antilles
Size907 kg (2,000 lb)
HabitatForest, neritic marine, intertidal marine, and coastal marine
IUCN Conservation StatusVulnerable
Estimated PopulationUnknown

As one of the largest crocodiles of all species, the American crocodile is the most widespread of its kind. It lives in the Americas, with big populations in South Florida and the coasts of Mexico. Some of them are even interbreeding with the Cuban crocodile. 

American Crocodile
American Crocodile (Crocodylus acutus)

2. Borneo Crocodile

Scientific NameC. raninus
RangeBorneo
Size200kg to over 1,000kg
Habitatcoastal brackish waters, swamps, mangroves, and mudflats along river deltas
IUCN Conservation StatusNot Evaluated (NE)
Estimated Population12,000

The Borneo crocodile is a freshwater croc that is only found on the island of Borneo in Southeast Asia. Its classification is controversial, as some suggest that there are two distinct species of it.

There are some scientists that say it is the same as the Siamese crocodile, and some also say that it is a kind of saltwater crocodile. 

Borneo Crocodile Crocodylus siamensis
Borneo Crocodile (Crocodylus raninus)

3. Cuban Crocodile

Scientific NameC. rhombifer
RangeCuba
Size215 kg (474 lb)
HabitatInland wetlands
IUCN Conservation StatusCritically Endangered
Estimated Population3,000–5000 

The Cuban crocodile is a medium croc species, and it has recently raised alarms in the zoologic community. They are interbreeding with the American crocodile, which can result in its extinction. 

It is a highly aggressive crocodile and is dangerous to human beings. It is long, and its legs are strong, making it a powerful animal on land. It is the most terrestrial of all living crocodile species, meaning it spends most of its time on land. 

Cuban Crocodile
Cuban Crocodile (Crocodylus rhombifer)

4. Freshwater Crocodile

Scientific NameC. johnstoni
RangeNorthern Australia
Sizeto 100 kg (220 lb)
HabitatInland wetlands
IUCN Conservation StatusLeast Concern (LC)
Estimated PopulationUnknown

This crocodile is endemic to Australia, and some people call it Johnstone’s crocodile. Its common name is freshie. The saltwater crocodiles are docile, and they do not have the reputation of man-eaters.

However, they will still become aggressive if they think a human is a threat.  

Freshwater Crocodile
Freshwater Crocodile (Crocodylus johnsoni)

5. Hall’s New Guinea Crocodile

Scientific NameC. halli
RangeNew Guinea
Size295 kg (650 lb)
Habitatswamps, rivers, and lakes
IUCN Conservation StatusNot Evaluated (NE)
Estimated Population50,000 and 100,000

This crocodile is endemic to New Guinea, and it lives in the southern area of the island. Its name came from the researcher who performed the initial studies to determine its distinction from other crocodiles. Unlike some crocodiles, it builds its nests during the wet season.

Hall’s New Guinea Crocodile (Crocodylus halli)

6. Morelet’s crocodile

Scientific NameC. moreletii
RangeEastern Mexico
Size136 kg (300 lb)
HabitatInland wetlands
IUCN Conservation StatusLeast Concern (LC)
Estimated Population79,000–100,000 

The other name for this species is the Mexican crocodile. It is a medium-sized species, and it only lives in fresh water in the Atlantic regions in areas close to Mexico. It can grow up to ten feet. The first time people knew about it was in 1850. It was often confused with the Cuban and American crocodiles at that time. 

Morelet's Crocodile
Morelet’s Crocodile (Crocodylus moreletii)

7. Mugger Crocodile

Scientific NameC. palustris
RangeSouthern Asia
Size450 kg (1,000 lb)
HabitatInland wetlands and neritic marine
IUCN Conservation StatusVulnerable (VU)
Estimated Population5,700–8,700 

The mugger crocodile is a young species, having evolved only 4 million years ago. It was in 1831 when scientists first classified it as such. It is a protected species in Iran, India, and Sri Lanka. In the areas not protected by law, it faces extinction due to the destruction of its natural habitat. 

Mugger Crocodile
Mugger Crocodile (Crocodylus palustris)

8. New Guinea Crocodile

Scientific NameC. novaeguineae
RangeNew Guinea
Size295 kg (650 lb)
HabitatInland wetlands
IUCN Conservation StatusLeast Concern (LC)
Estimated Population100,000

This species is different from Hall’s New Guinea crocodile. It is a small species, and it lives close to a mountain ridge at the center of the island. 

Today, scientists classify it as a separate species of Hall’s Crocodile. In the past, this species was even considered the same one as the Philippine crocodile. It feeds on small animals and is mostly active at night. 

New Guinea Crocodile (Crocodylus novaeguineae)
New Guinea Crocodile (Crocodylus novaeguineae)

9. Nile Crocodile

Scientific NameC. niloticus
RangeSub-Saharan Africa
Size1,089 kg (2,400 lb)
HabitatInland wetlands, neritic marine, intertidal marine, and coastal marine
IUCN Conservation StatusLeast Concern (LC)
Estimated Population50,000–70,000 

Found in Africa, it is the most common crocodile people see on television. It is a freshwater species, and it has a presence in 26 countries. It is capable of living in salt water, but it rarely goes in marine waters. 

It is one of the biggest species, with adults reaching 20 feet. In Africa, it is widely regarded as the biggest freshwater predator and is second only to the saltwater crocodile in size. 

Like all crocodiles, it’s cold-blooded and spends much of its day basking in the sun or hiding underwater to regulate its temperature.

Nile Crocodile
Nile Crocodile (Crocodylus niloticus)

10. Orinoco Crocodile

Scientific NameC. intermedius
RangeNorthern South America
Size1,000 kg (2,200 lb)
HabitatForest, savanna, and inland wetland
IUCN Conservation StatusCritically Endangered
Estimated Population90,000–254,000 

This critically endangered crocodile is only found in freshwater environments, and they are particularly located in the Orinoco River in Venezuela. Its population dwindled because of hunting in the 19th and 20th centuries. 

The males are huge and can grow up to 22 feet. Today, not such big males exist. The most common length is 17 feet. Despite being endangered, it is a crocodile that is not studied much. 

Orinoco Crocodile
Orinoco Crocodile (Crocodylus intermedius)

11. Philippine Crocodile

Scientific NameC. mindorensis
RangePhilippines
Size190 kg (420 lb)
HabitatInland wetlands
IUCN Conservation StatusCritically Endangered
Estimated Population50–150 

The Philippine crocodile is sometimes referred to as the Mindoro crocodile. It is one of the two endemic species found in the Philippines. It is critically endangered as people hunted it. There are several conservation efforts in the country, and killing it is now punishable by law. 

Philippine Crocodile (Crocodylus mindorensis)
Philippine Crocodile (Crocodylus mindorensis)

12. Saltwater Crocodile

Scientific NameC. porosus
RangeSouth and Southeast Asia, northern Australia and Oceania
Size1,360 kg (3,000 lb)
Habitatcoastal brackish mangrove swamps and river deltas
IUCN Conservation StatusLeast Concern
Estimated Population100,000 to 200,000 

The saltwater crocodile is common in India and Southeast Asia. It is dangerous to humans. Back in the 1970s, it was a cause of concern as people killed it. Its population declined because of habitat loss. It is the largest living reptile today, and the males can grow up to 20 feet.

Saltwater Croc
Saltwater Crocodile (Crocodylus porosus)

13. Siamese Crocodile

Scientific NameC. siamensis
RangeSoutheast Asia
Size350 kg (770 lb)
HabitatInland wetlands
IUCN Conservation StatusCritically Endangered
Estimated Population500–1,000 

A medium crocodile, this one is present in many regions in Asia. However, it is critically endangered and is already extinct in some areas where it was supposed to live. A freshwater crocodile, it has a broad and smooth snout. It is also small, measuring only 4.9 feet. Adults can grow longer than this but rarely exceed 10 feet. 

Siamese Crocodile
Siamese Crocodile (Crocodylus siamensis)

14. West African Crocodile

Scientific NameC. suchus
RangeWestern and Central Africa
SizeUnknown
Habitatcaves or burrows’ gueltas
IUCN Conservation StatusNot Evaluated (NE)
Estimated PopulationUnknown

Sometimes called the desert crocodile, it is often confused with the Nile crocodile. They used to live in the southern part of the Nile river, but they are no longer found there today. 

Compared to the Nile crocodile, the West African crocodile is less aggressive. It attacks humans from time to time. Mauritanian people revere these crocodiles as deities, which is why they are also referred to as the Sacred Crocodile. 

West-African Crocodile (Crocodylus suchus)
West-African Crocodile (Crocodylus suchus)

15. Central African Slender-Snouted Crocodile

Scientific NameM. leptorhynchus
RangeCentral Africa
SizeUnknown
HabitatUnknown
IUCN Conservation StatusNot Evaluated
Estimated PopulationUnknown

This crocodile is one of the two species that belong to the genus Mecistops. It was first described back in 1835, and the first specimen died in a zoo in London. Molecular science is what allowed scientists to establish the fact that it is a distinct species. It is a common species in Central Africa. 

Central African Slender-Snouted Crocodile (Mecistops leptorhynchus)

16. West African Slender-Snouted Crocodile

Scientific NameM. cataphractus
RangeWestern Africa
Size325 kg (717 lb)
HabitatForest, savanna, inland wetlands, neritic marine, and coastal marine
IUCN Conservation Status1,000–20,000 
Estimated PopulationCritically Endangered

Also a species of the Mecistops genus, this crocodile is critically endangered. It is one of the five species found in Africa, but it is widely distributed in the west. 

Its relative is the previous crocodile in this list. It is a long crocodile, and its snout is slender. Despite its slender snout, it does not look like a gharial. It uses its snout to catch fish, and it prefers to live in areas with dense vegetation. 

(West African Slender-Snouted Crocodile (Mecistops cataphractus)

17. Dwarf Crocodile

Scientific NameO. tetraspis
RangeWestern Africa
Size18 and 32 kg (40 and 71 lb)
Habitats tropical regions of Sub-Saharan West Africa and Central Africa
IUCN Conservation StatusVulnerable (VU)
Estimated PopulationUnknown

Last on the species of the true crocodile is the Dwarf, which sometimes goes by the name African dwarf crocodile. It is the smallest living species of crocodile. An adult can only reach 4.9 feet. Some could grow up to 6.2 feet, and this is by far the biggest recorded of its kind. 

Dwarf Crocodile
Dwarf Crocodile (Osteolaemus tetraspis)

Types of Crocodiles in Family Gavialidae (In Alphabetical Order)

1. Gharial

Scientific NameG. gangeticus
RangeScattered south Asia
Size820 kg (1,800 lb)
HabitatWetlands (inland)
IUCN Conservation StatusCritically Endangered
Estimated Population300–900 

The gharial and the gavials are one and the same. Some call it the fish-eating crocodile, and it is a long species of crocodile. They can grow up to 18 feet. 

Adult males have something in their snout which look like a gharial or an earthenware pot. As such, they were called gharials. The gharial has a long and thin snout, which is perfect for hunting fish. It also has 110 sharp teeth.

A Gharial in dark water
Gharial (Gavialis gangeticus)

2. False Gharial

Scientific NameT. schlegelii
RangeSoutheast Asia
Size450 kg (1,000 lb)
HabitatForest and inland wetlands
IUCN Conservation StatusVulnerable (VU)
Estimated Population2,500–10,000 

The false gharial, also called Tomistoma, also goes by the name Malayan gharial. Unlike the real gharial, its snout broadens at the base. As such, it shares similarities with the true crocodiles. 

There are fossils of extinct species of the Tomistoma, but nearly half of them are distinct from the false gharial. 

False Gharial (Tomistoma schlegelii)
False Gharial (Tomistoma schlegelii)

Conclusion

There are three major sub-families of crocodiles. These are the true crocodiles, the alligators, and the gharials. Caimans belong to the alligator sub-family.

Some crocodilian species are nearly extinct, but various governments from around the world have a concerted effort to bring the population back. For one, the Chinese alligator is critically endangered, and the estimate is that there are only about 150 of them in the wild. 

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