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Do alligators have scales or skin?

Last Reviewed and Updated on August 2, 2022

Alligators are reptiles, and most but not all reptiles have a few things in common. Reptiles are usually cold-blooded, lay eggs, and have scales or scutes. But this isn’t always the case. Lets’ take a closer look at these big reptiles. Do alligators have scales or skin?

What are alligators?

Alligators are large reptiles, with two different species currently living – the American and the Chinese alligator. These creatures are cold-blooded and lay eggs. Alligators are carnivorous.

Also, read facts about alligators.

Do alligators have scales or skin?

First thing first, all animals have some sort of skin, so the question you are asking should be, do alligators have just skin or skin covered with scales.

And another question that should be answered before we take a look at alligator skin is what actually are scales? And what are scutes?

Scales are small rigid plates that grow out of animals’ skin. Scutes are very similar to scales, but they are formed in the lower vascular layer of the skin. Scutes usually don’t overlap as scales do. While they aren’t exactly the same, scute is considered a type of scale.

Now that we have the basics covered, we can take a closer look at the skin of an alligator.

You can see the skin of an alligator is covered by plates, and these plates don’t overlap. So they are technically scutes.

These plates are hardened; they aren’t like the scales of fish. They aren’t exactly like the scales of snakes and lizards either. Alligator’s scutes have properties closer to bones, and they serve as an exoskeleton. This exoskeleton isn’t connected with the skeleton of an alligator in any part.

So there you have it, alligators have both skin and scales, or to be more specific, they have skin and scutes.

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