According to a new recent study, Nile crocodiles are a far more common occurrence in Florida than previously thought. About four live specimens were caught in the Sunshine State since 2000, and sadly people often take them for native species, which can have tragic consequences.
Experts explained that the Nile crocodile is larger and heavier than its North American cousin and if it has the chance it puts humans on its menu as well. The specimens found in Florida originate in South Africa and they either escaped from a zoo or a pet owner’s home.
One of the crocs caught in Florida was a hatchling sunbathing on a Miami porch. Another one was captured outside a zoo facility in Homestead, while a third was spotted in a public park. The last one was captured four years ago in a canal in Homestead.
None of the animals looked like they had plans to reproduce. The fourth specimen however was released soon after the capture with a GPS tracker on it. In 2014, the croc made another appearance 29 miles away. It was much larger than two years prior.
Study authors noted that the African predators can grow very large. The largest individuals can grow up to 20 feet, which can make them extremely dangerous to humans. Kenneth L. Krysko, co-author of the latest study analyzing the cold-blooded animals, noted that introducing the big croc in Florida was not a smart thing to do.
A fully grown Nile crocodile can easily wrestle a hippopotamus and kill a human too. In its home country he is notorious for its man-eating habits. It also has one of the strongest bites on the planet.
According to statistics, in the last 16 years American crocodiles killed 33 people while their African cousins were accountable for 268 human fatalities. Crocodile experts say that the African species is more aggressive than native species.
Yet, Floridians shouldn’t panic yet. Experts found that the four crocodiles haven’t reached adulthood and they lack partners to reproduce. So, don’t expect to meet them on your backyard alley anytime soon.
On the other hand, researchers urge authorities to stay alert as unchecked invasions can have dreadful consequences. Burmese pythons released in the wild are now a thriving population in the Everglades nearly wiping out native rabbits.
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