Quantcast
Environmental News for a Healthier Planet and Life

Three 'Man-Eating' Crocodiles Found in Florida Everglades

Animals
Three 'Man-Eating' Crocodiles Found in Florida Everglades

Florida isn't a stranger to crocodiles and alligators. After all, it is the only place on Earth where both share a habitat. But when crocodiles from across the Atlantic Ocean show up, things can get weird.

A Nile crocodile swimming in Gulu, Uganda. Photo credit: Tim Muttoo, Wikimedia Commons.

There have been three confirmed Nile crocodiles caught in Florida since 2009. DNA evidence was needed to confirm their African origin because, as University of Florida professor Frank Mazzotti told NPR's Jeremy Hobson, while there are small differences between African and American crocodiles, they are very subtle.

"From a distance," Mazzotti told Hobson on Here and Now, "it would be very difficult even for an expert to tell them apart."

The New York Times reported that most of the Nile Crocodiles in the U.S. are shipped from South Africa. The three Nile crocodiles found in Florida are believed to have been introduced through the pet trade, either for personal use or to be kept at zoos.

This type of crocodile is a "non-native species," Mazzotti explained. They were introduced to the environment, but there are no signs that the crocodiles are reproducing.

"Many introductions are failures," Mazzotti said. "The animals don't establish and breed. Ninety percent or better of introductions are failures."

There is a possibility, Mazzotti said, that there are more African crocodiles in Florida. But even those possible crocodiles don't present a threat to humans, Mazzotti explained. With no established population, Nile crocodiles don't pose the same type of threat as they do in their natural habitats in Africa where they are known as "man-eating."

All of the crocodiles captured so far have been less than 4-feet long, nothing compared to the length of adult crocodiles. Males can grow to 14-feet long; females can grow to be 12-feet long.

Listen to NPR's Here and Now interview with Mazzotti below:

YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE

Scientists Uncover Array of Strange Animals in Cave That Has Been Sealed Off for 5.5 Million Years

Meet New York's Newest Groundskeeping Crew

Explore the Deep Sea With NOAA

10 Extraordinary Places Saved by the Endangered Species Act

Rise and Resist activist group marched together to demand climate and racial justice. Steve Sanchez / Pacific Press / LightRocket / Getty Images

By Alexandria Villaseñor

This story is part of Covering Climate Now, a global journalism collaboration strengthening coverage of the climate story.

My journey to becoming an activist began in late 2018. During a trip to California to visit family, the Camp Fire broke out. At the time, it was the most devastating and destructive wildfire in California history. Thousands of acres and structures burned, and many lives were lost. Since then, California's wildfires have accelerated: This past year, we saw the first-ever "gigafire," and by the end of 2020, more than four million acres had burned.

Read More Show Less
EcoWatch Daily Newsletter
U.S. Interior Secretary Deb Haaland announced a pair of climate-related secretarial orders on Friday, April 16. U.S. Department of the Interior

By Jessica Corbett

As the Biden administration reviews the U.S. government's federal fossil fuels program and faces pressure to block any new dirty energy development, Interior Secretary Deb Haaland won praise from environmentalists on Friday for issuing a pair of climate-related secretarial orders.

Read More Show Less
Trending
David Attenborough narrates "The Year Earth Changed," premiering globally April 16 on Apple TV+. Apple

Next week marks the second Earth Day of the coronavirus pandemic. While a year of lockdowns and travel restrictions has limited our ability to explore the natural world and gather with others for its defense, it is still possible to experience the wonder and inspiration from the safety of your home.

Read More Show Less

By Michael Svoboda

For April's bookshelf we take a cue from Earth Day and step back to look at the bigger picture. It wasn't climate change that motivated people to attend the teach-ins and protests that marked that first observance in 1970; it was pollution, the destruction of wild lands and habitats, and the consequent deaths of species.

Read More Show Less
An Amazon.com Inc. worker walks past a row of vans outside a distribution facility on Feb. 2, 2021 in Hawthorne, California. PATRICK T. FALLON / AFP via Getty Images

Over the past year, Amazon has significantly expanded its warehouses in Southern California, employing residents in communities that have suffered from high unemployment rates, The Guardian reports. But a new report shows the negative environmental impacts of the boom, highlighting its impact on low-income communities of color across Southern California.

Read More Show Less