An American Crocodile
Photo credit: UF Prof. Harry Messel ©1996
The Endangered Reptiles
The American Crocodile
Crocodilians, which first appeared about 80 million
years ago during the Cretaceous period, are the
relative of the bird, the only living Dinosaur.
The American Crocodile is one of two Crocodilians
Native to the U.S., the other being the American
and Florida is the only place in the U.S. that they call home.
Unlike the Alligator, the Crocodile is shy and prefers to
It is not the aggressor that the Alligator is and there
has never been a report of a Human killed by a Crocodile.
Our largest Reptile, in the U.S. they can reach up
to 13 feet,
can weigh up to 500 pounds and live from 50 to 70 years.
Florida Crocodiles were on the ESA List since 1975 as Endangered,
then last year, they were downgraded to Threatened,
after their numbers increased from about 300 in the
to somewhere around 2,000 now existing in the State,
demonstrating just how successful the ESA can be.
Photo credit: Florida Fish and Wildlife
Crocodiles are found along both Coasts now,
in the Everglades and Biscayne National Parks
and several other places in South Florida.
They currently seem to prefer the sanctity of
the cooling canals of several Nuclear Power Plants.
An American Crocodile Hatchling
Photo credit: University of Florida
Mother Crocodiles who can live in brackish, fresh or salty
will lay their eggs in the safe nesting place she has
and come back just before they are due to hatch.
Their babies on the other hand, cannot tolerate salt water.
There are reports that the babies call to them from inside
Sometimes, she will peck at the eggs to help the little
then gets them safely to fresh water, often carrying them
in her mouth
great distances to do so and sends them on their way in
The babies see their mother just once.
Like other Reptiles, Crocodiles must bask in the
sun to regulate their body temperatures.
Photo credit: UF Julio Caballeros Sigme
An interesting behavior has been observed when Crocodiles
they appear to cry and Scientists are still trying to explain it.
The Crocodiles newest nesting Habitats in the cooling
at Turkey Point Nuclear Power Plant near Homestead
may or may not prove to be in their best interest.
The Manatees, who are in the same situation at Homosassa
and several other locations and the Crocodiles being in water
that may or not contain Nuclear Contamination in even
the tiniest amount is cause for concern for two
only recently been taken off the Endangered Species List.
FPL, who runs Turkey Point claims that they take really
good care of their Crocodiles, if you can call collecting
data giving good care, that may be, but has anyone
checked their DNA lately?
The reason for this concern is the current health status
of the Alligators at Lake Apopka, where the fertilizers of
local farmers has been allowed to drain unchecked for years.
Now the Alligators there are demonstrating
anomalies in their reproductive organs.
Imagine how Nuclear Waste tainted water could
affect these same reproductive organs.
So, the question is, is the water in the cooling canals
at Turkey Point and other Nuclear Power Plants where
unsuspecting wildlife go to keep safe and warm, really safe?
Places to learn more:
American Museum of Natural History
Defenders of Wildlife
Environmental Health News
Baby Crocs Still in the Eggs Call Mamma
Florida Power and Light
Species Profile - American Crocodile
Crocodiles Lose Endangered Status
National Parks Conservation Association
American Crocodiles Make a Comeback
Crocodiles Cry When They Eat
University of Chicago
Huge Crocodile Fossil Found in Sahara
University of Florida
Crocodile: A Story of Recovery
Walking with the Alligators
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