AMERICAN ALLIGATOR (alligator mississippiewsis)
Alligators are easily confused with crocodiles. How are they different? An alligator's lower teeth fit into pits in the upper jaw, so you usually cannot see them when the animal's mouth is closed. Some of a crocodile's lower teeth are visible. Also, alligators have a broad snout, while crocodiles have a narrow snout.
Alligators rarely attack humans. When this occurs, it is usually in defense of a nest or because public feeding has caused them to lose their fear of people.
Alligators were once very common throughout coastal areas of the southeastern U.S. In the early 1970's, the alligator was declared a federally endangered species due to widespread hunting for hides. From 1930-1940, for example, over one million alligators were killed in Florida alone. Although alligators have become more common than they were, they are still considered threatened and are protected by federal laws.