The Saltwater Crocodile Is Florida’s Least Known Local Resident

Florida has l.5 million American alligators and as saltwater intrusion continues in the Everglades, the activity of transporting wandering gators from South Floridians’ swimming pools and backyards has increased as gators move northward.

There are so many gators that there is a hunting season (with limited licenses) – you hunt with spears since a shot reptile might sink into the swamp’s muck.  Most professional hunters use the hides and sell the meat to seafood restaurants.

There is another prehistoric creature that is slowly moving northward and most Floridians have never seen one.

Florida’s saltwater crocodiles, most living until recently on the tip of the Everglades away from populations, are rare sights.  Crocs are Federally and state protected and only number around two to three thousand in numbers in Florida.

FLORIDATRAVELER oceanside -crocodile-sightings-20180125

It May Seem Strange to See An Oceanside Croc Capture

It should also be noted that the American crocodile, unlike alligators, tries hard to avoid people and is less aggressive.  Most research on crocs have taken place in the Cape York Peninsula of Northern Australia where the saltwater crocs number 100,000, but reside far from large populated areas and are studied under more natural habitat.

In recent years, however, the Florida crocodile is moving into the Florida Keys, killing small pets and scaring people.  Part of the problem is the reality that the canals in the Keys are saltwater and people often swim in the canals – and they even swim at night when crocs and gators (who can tolerate salt water for a few days) are hunting.

FLORIDATRAVELER Nile croc seen in Florida crocodylus_niloticus6

Nile crocs are very imposing …

At present, Florida authorities will remove the crocs and move them back into the Everglades, but there are more limited locations to place them since throwing crocs in with gators is not a good idea.

Even of more concern to some Floridians is the discovery of some Nile crocodiles in Florida. These are large reptiles whose behavior in Florida’s animal population is not researched.  Florida is not Africa.

As climates change slowly around the globe, there is reason for Florida scientists to be on the look out for more exotic species from the Caribbean, South America, and even Africa.   #mcbobleonard

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About floridatraveler

Historian and travel writer M. C. Bob Leonard makes the Sunshine State his home base. Besides serving as content editor for several textbook publishers and as college professor, he moderates the FHIC at www.floridahistory.org
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