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Any of about a dozen tropical reptile species (family Crocodilidae) found in Asia, the Australian region, Africa, Madagascar, and the Americas. Crocodiles are long-snouted, lizardlike carnivores. Most feed on fishes, turtles, birds, and small mammals; large individuals may attack domestic livestock or humans. Crocodiles swim and feed in the water, floating at the surface to wait for prey, but bask in the sun and breed on land. They are reputed to be livelier than alligators and more likely to attack humans. They have a narrower snout than alligators and a tooth on each side of the jaw that is visible when the jaw is closed.
This entry comes from Encyclopædia Britannica Concise. For the full entry on crocodile, visit Britannica.com.