Nile crocodiles by a river

Crocodiles, alligators and caimans

Crocodiles, alligators, caimans and the related gharials - are reptiles adapted for an aquatic way of life. They are powerful swimmers, but also spend some of their time on land, basking in the sun. By moving back and forth between water and land, they can keep their bodies at an optimum temperature as the day heats up or the night cools down.

Scientific name: Crocodilia

Rank: Order


Map showing the distribution of the Crocodiles, alligators and caimans taxa

The shading illustrates the diversity of this group - the darker the colour the greater the number of species. Data provided by WWF's Wildfinder.

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When they lived

Discover the other animals and plants that lived during the following geological time periods.


  1. Life
  2. Animals
  3. Vertebrates
  4. Reptiles
  5. Crocodiles, alligators and caimans

BBC News about Crocodiles, alligators and caimans

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