PINECREST, Fla. (WSVN) — A crocodile roundup surprised residents, Friday, after the scaly visitor made a rare appearance in a Pinecrest neighborhood.
Residents who called local officials assumed they were near an alligator, not a crocodile. Crocodiles are a rarity in Florida, with only about 1,200 left in the Sunshine State.
The 8-foot-reptile was spotted roaming down Red Road, at around 5:30 a.m., by a resident. Neighbors said the crocodile is one of the two that are often seen in a canal in Gables by the Sea. “The good thing is that it didn’t come through our backyard because that would have been a lot worse,” said Ferdinand Kurt. “I don’t know how he got out there, but there he was.”
Trapper Tood Hardwick worked to exhaust the crocodile, which successfully led to its capture. “Thank God, I didn’t see it,” said Rizwan Ali. “I would have freaked out. At least someone did, and I’m glad it’s captured.”
This isn’t the first time a crocodile has been spotted in this neighborhood. In 2014, two people decided to go for a late night swim until a crocodile bit them. Both survived, and the animal was eventually captured.
Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission officer Lorenzo Veloz offered more advice for those in this situation. “Keep your distance and observe,” said Veloz. “Don’t mess with them. They don’t like to be bothered, and, of course, safety is key. The further you are away from them, the safer you’re going to be.”
On hot and sticky days, crocodiles venture out of the water and onto land, wildlife officials said, especially during mating season.
Officials added this is the fifth crocodile captured in Florida this year.
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