Crocodiles or Alligators

Are they crocodiles or Alligators, I suppose we should get that bit right before we go further. There is a difference but most don’t know how to tell them apart. They are both scary as hell right. While they do share many of the same features, they couldn’t be any more different. Alligators have a wide, rounded, u-shaped snout, while crocodiles have long, pointed, v-shaped snouts.

The difference in shape means that alligators can exert more strength from their mouths. This is useful in cracking open hard-shelled vertebrates, like turtles. Alligators also have a wide upper jaw, which means their teeth remain hidden in their mouth. Crocodiles are different from alligators in this regard. Both upper and lower jaws of a crocodile are the same size. This exposes their teeth as they interlock, creating the look of a toothy grin. 

Crocodiles have toothy grins!

This means that what we are looking at here are Crocodiles. A dentist’s delight and you would have to travel a long way to see a toothier grin than this!

This is a West African Crocodile (Crocodylus Suchus).
You can tell by its jawline and toothy grin, Ooh-er!

Typically, crocodiles are more aggressive than alligators, which makes crocodiles more dangerous than alligators. They are also happy to live in not only freshwater environments but also saltwater, unlike their cousin the Alligator.

Where can we see Crocs in The Gambia?

Left the common sense at home today!

There are several ways to see Crocodiles in their natural environment in The Gambia. The one that springs to mind immediately is Katchikally Crocodile Pool. It’s a famous place that has an interesting history.

As the story goes, it involves a devil who said that “any barren woman who bathes in the water from the well would bear a child”. True or false, locals in the community believe in the healing properties of the waters at Katchikally. 

In 2004 my mum and dad came to The Gambia to visit and see Footsteps ( Their only trip to The Gambia ). They organised various day trips, one of which was the Kachikally Croc Pool.

After breakfast, I said to them, “have a great day, but don’t stroke Charlie the friendly croc whatever you do”. On their return, in the evening Ray proudly showed his picture of Mum stroking Charlie.

No one was injured and everyone had a great day. I can’t for a second think why perfectly normal sensible people would choose to stroke a killing machine like that!

You could also take a trip to The Gunjur Bolong Fenyo. Here you can take a guided tour of its 345 hectares. You can see more than crocs here. Although you won’t be encouraged to touch or feed them which is what gives the Bolong Fenyo the edge

Book your trip around the Fenyo with Badara Bajo Gunjur environmental protection and development group ( GEPADG ) Established in 1992

Calypso beach Bar

Last but not least you can treat yourself and visit Calypso Beach Bar at Cape Point.

Here you get an upmarket experience coupled with great service, food and drinks.

Also relaxing surroundings and yes, you guessed it, crocodiles in their natural habitat. Safely!

You can visit any of the above unguided but to get the most from your day go with Oz, our driver/guide.

One of many things to do while on holiday in The Gambia

One of the crocodiles at Calypso Beach Bar, they are fed at 3-30 pm each day
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