5 Easy Steps To Tell The Difference Between An Alligator and A Crocodile
Reading Comprehension Activity

Sometimes, it can be hard to tell the difference between alligators and crocodiles! With this reading passage activity, you’ll learn all about how to tell these two reptiles apart.

Click for the passage & questions on one printable PDF.


You and your best friend decided to go on a boating trip! 

You are exploring the water and looking all around, when suddenly, you realize you are not alone. Two eyes are looking at you from the water!

“What’s that?!” your friend yells. 

“Do you know the difference between an alligator and a crocodile?” you ask. 

Your friend shakes their head. 

Your friend is in luck! You just read an article about the differences between alligators and crocodiles. You know how to solve the mystery!

Step 1: Think About Where You Are

Are you and your friend sailing a boat in the Caribbean or taking a trip down the Nile River in Africa? Then it must be a crocodile! Alligators only live in the US and China. Crocodiles live all over the world! 

Step 2: Know What Type Of Water You Are In 

Are you in a freshwater river or the salty ocean? If you can’t drink the water because it is too salty, an alligator probably wouldn’t want to either! Crocodiles can live in salty water, though. 

Step 3: Decide How Big It Is

Would it fit under a car? Alligators would be able to hide under most cars but a crocodile might be too long! If it is longer than 15 feet, it’s probably a crocodile. 

Saltwater crocodiles are the largest type of crocodile in the world. They can be up to 23 feet long and 2,200 pounds. That’s taller than most giraffes and as heavy as most hippopotamuses! 


Step 4: Look At Its Teeth

You’ve seen the creature’s eyes but what does the rest of its head look like? If it closes its mouth and you can’t see it’s teeth, then it’s an alligator! Crocodiles can’t hide their teeth even when their mouth is closed. 

Step 5: Look At Its Snout

The big noses on alligators and crocodiles are called snouts. If it looks pointy, like the letter “V”, it’s probably a crocodile. Alligators’ noses are shaped more like the letter “U”. 

The creature has swam away now (phew!) and you tell your friend the steps you took to solve the mystery! 

First, you explain because you are in a boat in freshwater in the United States that means it could be  a crocodile or an alligator.

Then, you thought about how big it was. The creature is shorter than your mom’s car but what if it is a baby? Maybe one day be too big to fit under the car! Maybe it’s an alligator… or maybe it’s a baby crocodile!

Next, you looked at its face. It’s mouth was closed. You didn’t see teeth. Its snout wass shaped like the letter “U”. 

Mystery solved! You and your friend just saw an alligator!

Time to go home and tell your friends all about your adventure and what you learned!

Comprehension Questions

Get the passage & questions on one printable PDF.

Interactive Banner 2

Enter description text here.