Title: American Crocodile: An Endangered Species Recovery in Progress
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Permanent Link: http://ufdc.ufl.edu/FI06050124/00001
 Material Information
Title: American Crocodile: An Endangered Species Recovery in Progress
Physical Description: Archival
Spatial Coverage: North America -- United States of America -- Florida -- South Florida
Funding: Florida International Univerity Libraries
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Bibliographic ID: FI06050124
Volume ID: VID00001
Source Institution: University of Florida
Holding Location: University of Florida
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Respect their nature-crocodiles are shy and want to be Everglades Restoration and

left alone, so observe them from a safe distance. The Future for Crocodiles

i we ou miie to protect and rvsorr habTlat for crocodile3 in Sauth
Florida. crocodiles will proper. HDwver, it we are viable tou hal g
people's misconcepwons about crocodiles crocodile recovery nwl be.
ornme an increasm ny drficiik task.
The answer lies in education and habiata creation. We need to e"du
care concerned iriens dat the American crocodile is a shy anirml that
rarely barracks unless provk verglades restoration can be inked
with craocodle ecokogy: the health of the EcergLadcs corresponds wht the
health of crocodile population. By using cricodileas ndicators of the
success of reptorir natural feesiwater flows to estuaries. we can arron-
plish zanls of increasing crocodile populations and 'e.r lades restria n

Education promoting the tolerance and under-
standing of crocodile behavior and habitat has
assisted in the survival of crocodiles throughout
the world. We should not allow ungrounded
fears and lack of awareness to interfere with the
recovery of the American crocodile. It is possi-
ble to co-exist peacefully with crocodiles if peo-
pie are ready to embrace the responsibility to
protect an endangered species.

Living with Crocodiles

5e.ifand responsible bchavor Sw*n r adaylight hours only in areas
kdesigred as sale, and ner- aw Disposo of fish scraps in garbage
UNIVERSITY OF bins. and keep yop pe w From crocdik- nhabi~ed areas,
Photo Credits:
FDO NOT FEED CROCODILES-Feedrng crocodiles creates animals that
i Frank J. MazzoEi no longer lear h ns. CrocodJes w l approach odler hu~as for
(also cover) food in the future. Croccdil; cainot tell where the handout ends and
the hand begins. FeedinM a crocodlles is a violao on o state law. He
;mes j Michael S. Cherkiss s spread inora an by educating others a do ng rs of feedo m o g croco-
diles and of the proper behavior when round crocodles.
S'Michelle P. Moiler
Dangerous an4d an nrNore ehbaw Taunnr tuan ing, or
amefnfimm to mov a croodik could pienallvy c rea a haimul
situacosi as could smrinmirng in aras wih crocodiles
If you encounter a crocodile- do not approach it. It is against the law to
abterpt to move or otrwise come into physical contact wth a

Grocodymus WE W' 1

Crocodylus acuu

A S.orIoRe v

Thi kAnIcan crocoe is a primary
coestal crocoAdil occurring in pru of
Meximo. Central and South A kmerica,
Caribbanj and at the north end of
ts ran in South Florda The crocm
wtn first signed by early settl in dth
luaN IBWs in Blscay Bay-. k-ioricaly,
crocodiles were obtertved in coastal
arB w.nS dih pfnw ndayy locale of
Key Wet hin the sound, LLake Wrth in
the nwronh on the Aartin coast and
psphs, and Ssnibl knd on the Gt
Coat. Hurrmn populeado gowth and
development hu diinw hed the dst.-
butlon of ld Awerims lrocodlh.

A Comparison

of Two Crocodilians

American Crocodile
* Grayish.green ncoor
* Tapred out

* Expoed fourh toth on
both sides of lower jaw, whven
mowh 4 clo4d

* Rare ud Ihy-coenllcurary
OCr American Allifator

Home for a Crocodile

osslook for crocodidw in Florka. During this Sm the tianatkil Park
Serve stabMed a coodil srantu ry In onh-nn Florida Bay.
Crocoe Lake National Wildlike Refu was created and ori
Power and Lt Company began a knlsn-rm rwgeeH m and nroni-
torin program.

The Amnican crocodle inhablut
brackish and salwater habitats and
I typically found in pands. csC and
creeks in manrt t swaps. T hese
areas are characterized by deeper
watr, low wave action and itArme-
dilt salmnitm. l e creation of man-
mand hablta especially nesinr site
near natural areas, have o cmributed
to the long-term recovery of croco.
diles. & 7--

Nesting Behavior and Hatchlings

Nea building own in walldrainre soil adjawnt to water. This pr
v ws flooding and aflews for direct access to water. Femal begin
nest I iMin In March, and return rp edy to complete the nests
The fem ale lay all is during a single nighl, usually In late Apnl or
early May, The number of ceg per neier avrages 40. The female
coven all her e9 to protect diem from deicatio and predators
such as raccoons. FemiWe retur in he jly or August to open the
nets, and nay narry hachlings to the waer. They may mnew assist th
hatchlings by gently crukig dw shelbs wkh cheir Lw-.

Survival in the Everglades

Crocdesd ted on unal f, invrstbrasi, reptiles, birds, and mrnm
rmb. Feeding and gramh rates vary with tenmpapuare, food availability.
and sa iry.. d Redued freshwner flow to Evrgds estuaries h
negative affeaed growh rae of crocMdis.

Occuonally, death resuks from dIrect or Indirct interaction wnth man.
such s car cob iwL, Crocodiles alo sometimes die from wound
inrricted by othr crocodiles or from cannibalsm, &Surval rums ae the
lowest for hatchlings, whic are faced with many threat from preda
tors (raccoons, birds. arae), and dehydramio. Suinable reading sits,
nursery arnas, and good yer-rond kabitanr are crilcal to the survival
of both hatchling and adJ crocodles.

Present Distribution

Crocoles are found conurotmm betww southern a B w aiu Sy and
Cape Sable in Ev lades Naonal Park, a w as in several locations in
southwest Ronda between Shark Re*r and Sanibol hbwn, and alo in
Brwrd County.

Historical Distribution


Currant rnest ickatons are concemrwxed betwn nor nat orida Bay
and Southem Brnisc Bay. Snce tie 193W&, there has beeM a grdual
disappearnce of nestin on island in Florida Bry, and an ab ce fc
adults on cmr al Key Largo ad Wfe at couta f FmRod, r orh of
icaynre Bay Nest a lo kst to hinan dmelopmnw hae, te sme
gMfatl bafn cowrnaed for by the kadvetent creaokm of nCes slns

Endangered Status

The American ar cdile has always been rare in Florida. Hmwn Ipopu-
ladon growth and deeopnt of castal areas have depressed croco-
dile popuaomin number to wn lowr lvels. Hurm hs ave buik
homs hin wvhi was once croaodde habrta, ainily afctiing die nesting
range of crocodl By the early 197Ws nrsting had been restrited to
northeaten Floda Bay and north Key Laro. In 1975, Forida's
crocodile popubolan wa listed by the US. Fish and Wildle Servi as
end ygeredm and h dIhe late 1970t, ItMwelsve stiies m inly conducted
by the Natlnal Park Serae Florida Ganre and Fresh Water Cowmmni
sion (now Fkorida Fish and Wildlife Conservairt in Caminr sian). and
Florida Power and LUw Compnny resumed in a nore optimistic

Current Status

Success stories ar becoming more common. Forid is a good wam-
ple. In particular, the crocodile has made a comeack In soudern
BIscayrve Bay where suitable habmar reaim and where habitat mrodit.
nations have de other areas more favorable for crocodlasm Aikho
the AMwricai crocdil ramime nl y endangered throuho.a in
rng 3 as a rsu of mrean and mamnqeMnet propram we knomr of
m crocodiles (and nsts) In more place today dhan i 0 ya mao.

Everglades Nal.Park C Turkey F~int
4 D0 Crocodie Lake NWR i Other
C m60
0 40


70 75 80 85 90 95 00

Ye ar
Some data not avaiaMe.

For example, comucton of th coming canal system at the Fkrida
Power ad Lighs Companyrs Turkey Poin Powr Plnt has cr N ad nert-
Ing habitat where none hd irad ied,

Howwr, the sW Increase of the American crocdile may no be a
pernanur suc CSce Enrvironmntal changes that affect the ecologklI
health of tlh Eerglads could be detrimWtal to crocod4e popultcm.
Firnhemore crtocdiles halve been found increase y In pubic pera,
golf cures, and mariinas where ictss between humam and croco.
diles could ens*~ Th relt Ita been the riunval anl relocation of
crocodiles The nufor challenge fTo ile present and future recovery of
crocodiles ie. In public duction and ecosystem management.

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