What differentiates the two?

Crocodiles and alligators can usually be distinguished from one another with the shape of their heads. Crocodiles, which are brown, have narrow snouts while alligators have a much wider nose.

Crocodiles have teeth in their lower jaws that protrude when the mouth is shut.

Alligators are typically black in colour and only show their upper teeth with their mouths closed. Both crocs and alligators live in freshwater, but only crocodiles can lives in salt water because they have glands that excrete salt to allow them to survive.


Toothy grin

When their snouts are shut, crocodiles look like they’re flashing a toothy grin, as the fourth tooth on each side of the lower jaw sticks up over the upper lip.

For alligators, the upper jaw is wider than the lower one, so when they close their mouths, all their teeth are hidden.


Alligator’s tongue

Alligator tongues meanwhile run along the full length of their snouts — which can be up to two feet long. At the back of their tongue they have a palatal valve, which is a piece of flesh that stops water getting in when they are submerged. It kind of acts like a seal. It also means that gators can open their mouths under water to catch prey. And yes they can stick their tongues out.


Crocodile’s tongue

Crocodiles have a membrane that holds their tongue in place on the roof of their mouth so it doesn’t move. This makes it impossible for them to stick it outside of their narrow mouths. That can be handy for the reptile when snapping its jaws shut rapidly. It wouldn’t want to accidentally snap its own tongue off when eating prey.


Snail slime soap, anyone?

A former air force computer technician, Damien Desrocher, decided to start farming snails in the northern French town of Wahagnies as a form of “returning to nature”. He uses the snail fluid to make soap bars, which he sells in local markets.

“I only touch it with my finger, you see it’s not violent, it’s simple,” Desrocher said about the process of extracting the slime.

He has raised 60,000 snails. A single snail will yield about 2 grams of slime, meaning he needs around 40 snails to produce 80 grams — enough to manufacture 15, 100-gram soap bars.

Desrocher said slime contains molecules of collagen and elastin, which have anti-aging and skin-healing properties. Snails also naturally use their slime to repair their shells if damaged, he added.

Published in Dawn, Young World, May 29th, 2021

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