What Are Nile Crocodiles Doing in Florida?
At up to 20 feet long and weighing a ton and a half, with the strongest bite in the animal kingdom, Nile crocodiles can pretty much devour anything they want to — including humans.
As you can guess from their name, these carnivorous crocs are native to sub-Saharan Africa, where they subsist on small hippos, zebras and other animals they catch and, in some cases, swallow whole.
“In many parts of Africa, humans are commonly preyed upon by Nile crocodiles; therefore, fatal attacks and consumption by these large predators are well-documented,” notes the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS).
Scary, right? And now Nile crocodiles are living in the wilds of Florida.
In a new study, using DNA analysis, University of Florida scientists discovered several Nile crocodiles in the wild between 2000 and 2014.
“The odds that the few of us who study Florida reptiles have found all of the Nile crocs out there is probably unlikely,” Kenneth L. Krysko, one of the study’s authors, said in a statement. “We know they can survive in the Florida wilderness for numerous years, we know they grow quickly here and we know their behavior in their native range, and there is no reason to suggest that would change here in Florida.”
How did Nile crocodiles end up in Florida, more than 7,800 miles away?