The Fourth Tooth

April 10, 2010 at 10:58 am | Posted in itchy mouth | 4 Comments

Remember our post on about how the Water Monitor Lizard has always been mistaken as the Crocodile by many people? Itchyfingers then showed a cute sign from the zoo on one of the ways to tell the differences of the Alligator, Crocodile, Indian Gharial and False Gavial.

We did comment that it would be so tough to differentiate the crocodile
by looking out for the fourth tooth…

As explained in this site, Alligators have a wide “U”-shaped, rounded snout (like a shovel), whereas Crocodiles tend to have longer and more pointed “V”-shaped noses. The upper jaw of the Alligator is wider than the lower jaw and completely overlaps it. So the teeth in the lower jaw are almost completely hidden when the mouth closes, fitting neatly into small depressions or sockets in the upper jaw. For crocodiles, the upper jaw and lower jaw are approximately the same width, so teeth in the lower jaw fit along the margin of the upper jaw when the mouth is closed. In other words, the upper teeth interlock with the lower teeth when the mouth shuts, hence showing the large fourth tooth.

Itchyfingers found it so amusing to have to look for a fourth tooth of the Crocodile to confirm its identity until one fine day at the Sungei Buloh Wetland Reserves when we were finally convinced that it is possible to see the fourth tooth of a crocodile in the wild…. hahah…seeing is believing… 8)

Can you see its fourth tooth? 8) This was a smaller croc compared to the
ones we saw during other visits

“As the large fourth tooth in the lower jaw also fits outside the upper jaw,
there is a well-defined constriction in the upper jaw behind the nostrils to
accommodate it when the mouth is closed.”

Interesting huh? Haha…. 8)

Also see related posts:
> Living in Cold Blood – Mistaken Identities #1



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  1. Thanks for sharing the differences : ) I never knew the significance of the 4th tooth. Haha

    • Hahah….I thought it was quite funny to have to look for the 4th tooth…

  2. Well, I don’t know if it will help me in the Thailand life but I never knew how to tell them apart before and no matter if it will be to any good I really enjoy knowing these kinds of facts. I even have a few pictures I need to go check, I thought they were crocs now I don’t have to wonder much longer 🙂

    • Haha…do check your photo and let us know if they do show the fourth tooth! 😀

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