The ranges of specific crocodilian species, as well as their population densities, are represented in this map from National Geographic. Alligator species have a range mostly in the Americas, while crocodile species have ranges in Africa, Asia, and Australia.

Map by Lisa R. Ritter
    1. Crocodiles are the most widespread crocodilian species. On which continents are crocodiles not found?

      Antarctica and Europe are the only continents without native species of crocodile.

    2. Crocodiles are divided into two types, depending on the environment in which they live: freshwater and saltwater. Based on its species range, do you think the endangered Orinoco crocodile is a freshwater or saltwater species?

      Orinoco crocodiles, native to South America's Orinoco River, are freshwater crocodiles. Actually, all the endangered crocodiles on this map—the Cuban crocodile, Siamese crocodile, Philippine crocodile, and Tomistoma—are primarily freshwater species.

    3. Where is the largest population of crocodiles? What species is it?

      Central Africa has the largest population of Nile crocodiles. The southeast Asian island of Borneo also has a large population of estuarine crocodiles.

    4. The species range of the alligator is almost entirely limited to the New World. Where is the one other place to find alligators?

      The Chinese alligator is native to the lower Yangtze River in western China. All other alligators are native to the Americas.

    5. Gharials are narrow-snouted crocodilians with very limited species ranges. They are only found in Nepal and what other Asian country?

      Most gharials are found in India.

  • Term Part of Speech Definition Encyclopedic Entry
    continent Noun

    one of the seven main land masses on Earth.

    Encyclopedic Entry: continent
    crocodilian adjective, noun

    order of reptiles that includes crocodiles, alligators, caimans, and gharials.

    freshwater Noun

    water that is not salty.

    native species Noun

    species that occur naturally in an area or habitat. Also called indigenous species.

    New World Noun

    the Western Hemisphere, made up of the Americas and their islands.

    snout Noun

    protruding nose and jaw of an animal such as a pig.

    species range Noun

    native, geographic area in which an organism can be found. Range also refers to the geographic distribution of a particular species.

    Encyclopedic Entry: species range