An American Crocodile
An American Crocodile
Photo credit: UF Prof. Harry Messel 1996

 

The Endangered Reptiles of Florida

 

 

The American Crocodile
Crocodylus acutus

 

Crocodilians, which first appeared about 80 million

years ago during the Cretaceous period, are the closest

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 Alligator,

and Florida is the only place in the U.S. that they call home.

 

Unlike the Alligator, the Crocodile is shy and prefers to be alone.

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 1970's,

to somewhere around 2,000 now existing in the State,

demonstrating just how successful the ESA can be.

An American Crocodile
An American Crocodile
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 Hatchiling
An American Crocodile Hatchling
Photo credit: University of Florida

 

Mother Crocodiles who can live in brackish, fresh or salty water,

will lay their eggs in the safe nesting place she has built

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 the eggs.

Sometimes, she will peck at the eggs to help the little hatchlings out,

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 life.

The babies see their mother just once.

 

Like other Reptiles, Crocodiles must bask in the

sun to regulate their body temperatures.

An American Crocodile
An American Crocodile
Photo credit: UF Julio Caballeros Sigme 1996

 

An interesting behavior has been observed when Crocodiles eat,

they appear to cry and Scientists are still trying to explain it.

 

The Crocodiles newest nesting Habitats in the cooling canals

at Turkey Point Nuclear Power Plant near Homestead Florida,

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 who have

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

American Crocodile

 

Defenders of Wildlife

American Crocodile

 

Environmental Health News

 

Eureka Alert

Baby Crocs Still in the Eggs Call Mamma

 

Florida Power and Light

American Crocodiles

 

FWS

American Crocodile

Press Release

Species Profile - American Crocodile

 

MSN Encarta

Crocodile

 

National Geographic

American Crocodile

Crocodiles Lose Endangered Status

 

National Parks Conservation Association

American Crocodile

 

NPR

American Crocodiles Make a Comeback

 

Science Daily

Crocodiles Cry When They Eat

 

University of Chicago

Huge Crocodile Fossil Found in Sahara

 

University of Florida

American Crocodiles

The American Crocodile: A Story of Recovery

 


 

Walking with the Alligators

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Last edited June 21, 2017

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