A rather unexpected sight occurred in Hollywood, Florida on November 20, 2017, that shocked beach-goers and biologists alike! A six-foot-long American Crocodile decided to come enjoy the beach herself! American Crocodiles are a rather unusual sight, as they are an endangered species.
American Crocodiles are a vulnerable species today, but there was once great concern as to whether or not they would go extinct. During the 1970’s, their numbers dropped down into the 300s-range. With careful protection and management by the state, today there are estimated to be between 1,200 and 2,000 American Crocodiles living in the entire United States! Their low population numbers are what made this sighting so astounding.
As beachgoers approached the crocodile, police officers and Fish and Game officials had to ask the crowd to step back. When persistent individuals continued to try and approach, officials explained that the American Crocodile is known for being feisty and can run up to 18 miles per hour. The average person can run for a short burst at about 12 miles per hour, making that a very dangerous situation.
Wildlife officials approached the crocodile carefully and managed to snag it with a catch pole. They dragged it up further onto the beach, out of the water, and taped its mouth shut with electrical tape. Officials then loaded it into the back of a truck while the beachgoers loudly cheered.
The crocodile will be given a health check and have blood tests, to make sure that it is completely healthy and to get a better look at the state of the current population. The information it provides will be able to help experts take care of the population to make sure it continues to grow and thrive! Then, the crocodile will be tagged and released at a nearby site where the crocodile can have great access to food, shelter, and the perfect environment.
This is a once-in-a-lifetime experience for residents of Hollywood, Florida who might never get this chance again in their lives! Luckily for everyone involved, it ended the best possible way. The crocodile and all of the beach-goers are safe, and no one suffered any adverse effects! Seems as though it’s the best thing that could have happened for everyone involved, that’s for sure.