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

By Michael Svoboda, Ph.D.

Despite a journey to this moment even more treacherous than expected, Americans now have a fresh opportunity to act, decisively, on climate change.

The authors of the many new books released in just the past few months (or scheduled to be published soon) seem to have anticipated this pivotal moment.

Read More Show Less

EcoWatch Daily Newsletter

Marsh Creek in north-central California is the site of restoration project that will increase residents' access to their river. Amy Merrill

By Katy Neusteter

The Biden-Harris transition team identified COVID-19, economic recovery, racial equity and climate change as its top priorities. Rivers are the through-line linking all of them. The fact is, healthy rivers can no longer be separated into the "nice-to-have" column of environmental progress. Rivers and streams provide more than 60 percent of our drinking water — and a clear path toward public health, a strong economy, a more just society and greater resilience to the impacts of the climate crisis.

Read More Show Less

Trending

A Brood X cicada in 2004. Pmjacoby / CC BY-SA 3.0

Fifteen states are in for an unusually noisy spring.

Read More Show Less
A creative depiction of bigfoot in a forest. Nisian Hughes / Stone / Getty Images

Deep in the woods, a hairy, ape-like man is said to be living a quiet and secluded life. While some deny the creature's existence, others spend their lives trying to prove it.

Read More Show Less
President of the European Investment Bank Werner Hoyer holds a press conference in Brussels, Belgium on Jan. 30, 2020. Dursun Aydemir / Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

By Jon Queally

Noted author and 350.org co-founder Bill McKibben was among the first to celebrate word that the president of the European Investment Bank on Wednesday openly declared, "To put it mildly, gas is over" — an admission that squares with what climate experts and economists have been saying for years if not decades.

Read More Show Less