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Chinese alligator.jpg

The Chinese alligator (Alligator sinensis) is one of the smallest crocodilians (a group that also includes crocodiles, caimans and the gharial) and one of the most endangered. The stocky body is covered in hard scales on the back, softer scales on the sides and belly, and is a dark green/black colour. Up to 17 transverse rows of 6 bony scales run along the length of the body, with paired ridges running halfway down the tail and converging into a single ridge that terminates at the end of the tail. In addition to its smaller size, the Chinese alligator can be distinguished from its American relative (Alligator mississippiensis) by a slightly upturned and more tapered snout and from bony plates on each upper eyelid.




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