Sunday, 30 March 2014

Capture of Nile crocodile adds to Everglades invasion risk - via Herp Digest

By Christine Stapleton, 3/13/14 Palm Beach Post Staff Writer
The ante just went up on threats from exotic invaders in the Everglades with the capture of a Nile crocodile Sunday.
Although American crocodiles — rare and shy of humans — are occasionally seen in the northern Florida Keys, only a few Nile crocodiles have been spotted and captured in the Everglades. Nile crocodiles are much more aggressive, prefer larger prey and responsible for the deaths of hundreds of people in Africa every year.
Nile and American crocodiles average 13 to 16 feet and can weigh more than 1,000 pounds. However, it is not uncommon for male Nile crocodiles to reach 20 feet and weight 2,000 pounds.
The Nile crocodile captured on Sunday was a juvenile and not old enough to breed, according to the National Park Service. It was about 5.5-feet long and weighed 37.4 pounds, according to the National Park Service. Several other Nile crocodiles have been captured in the southern Everglades, though not nearly as many as the Burmese pythons, another invasive species.
Members of Swamp Apes, a group authorized to remove exotic species in the Everglades National Park, notified the park service after they had spotted the Nile crocodile during a routine Burmese Python survey. An inter-agency team from the park service, University of Florida, Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission and Swamp Apes quickly responded and was able to corral the crocodile into a small section of canal in an area of the park that is closed to the public.
A criminal investigation is underway to determine how the crocodile found its way into the Everglades. The National Park Service issued a news release Wednesday about the crocodile capture. However, the release did not say what happened to the crocodile after it was captured.

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