Is the Alligator a Reptile or Amphibian? Spot the Difference

Have you ever been mistaken for your brother or father? This happens more often than you think. We sometimes bear a striking resemblance to a parent or a sibling. This is due to a shared or common DNA.

The idea of common ancestry can be the reason behind the confusion. Some think alligators and crocodiles as being one and the same. Others don’t know if the gator is an amphibian or not. This post will answer those questions. It will also give you a better understanding of this creature.

Is the Alligator a Reptile or Amphibian?

Alligators are not amphibians. Are alligators mammals? No, they are not mammals either. The American alligator is a reptile.

Thinking an alligator is an amphibian is an honest mistake. Reptiles and amphibians have some commonalities. For one, they belong to the same phylum. Next, they’re cold-blooded creatures. Both are vertebrates and lay eggs as their form of reproduction. But these shared traits are superficial. Take a close look at these so-called similarities. You’ll see that they still have distinct elements. For example, amphibians do external fertilization. But reptiles like alligators use internal fertilization.

Confusing an alligator for an amphibian is quite understandable. But thinking it’s a mammal is wrong. Gators don’t have any mammalian traits. They don’t have hair nor do they live on land. They also don’t do live births.

What is an Alligator?

Now that you know that an alligator is a reptile, it’s time to get to know this animal better.

Taxonomists will tell you that the alligator is in the Crocodylia genus. It belongs to the family Alligatoridae. The name has its roots in Spanish. Their word for lizard is “el Lagarto.” It’s a short hop to the alligator. It’s also quite a fitting name since gators do look like oversized lizards.

There are only two alligator species in the world. The most common one is the American alligator. The American gator holds the title of being Florida’s state reptile. The other alligator species is the Chinese gator. This reptile is often found in China’s Yangtze river.

The Chinese alligator is an endangered species. Experts say there are only 120 of these gators left in the wild. There’s not much hope for these creatures to survive. Their population has become decimated by habitat loss and contaminated food supply.

What Does an Alligator Look Like?

Monikers like the muddy dragon and El Lagarto fit alligators to a T. Some will say they look like dragons. Others describe them as gigantic lizards.

Alligators do look like smaller dragons. They have large and strong bodies. It has skin that looks like it’s covered in armor. A closer look will reveal that the armor is actually osteoderms. This refers to the bony plates stuck on their outer skin.

Alligators also have four stubby legs. Their short legs don’t hinder them from running after their prey. Gators are dark in color. Most are gray to dark green. The alligator also has a wide, rounded snout. Their nostrils face upward, which helps them breathe while submerged.

Looking To Learn More About This Reptile?

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