Support local journalism. Join the Orlando Weekly Press Club.

Thursday, May 19, 2016

Florida now has a Nile crocodile problem

Posted By on Thu, May 19, 2016 at 4:47 PM

click to enlarge PHOTO VIA WIKIPEDIA
  • Photo via Wikipedia
Joining an already robust list of invasive species, Florida researchers have now confirmed that three Nile crocodiles were indeed captured near Miami, and more are probably out there. 

According to the Washington Times, University of Florida researchers recently published a report showing DNA testing from three crocs captured back in 2009, 2011 and 2014 does, in fact, match DNA from Nile crocodiles. 

“They didn’t swim from Africa,” University of Florida herpetologist Kenneth Krysko said to the Times. “But we really don’t know how they got into the wild.”

From the Times
Krysko, who works at UF’s Florida Museum of Natural History, said the captured crocodiles matched genetically, meaning they are related to one another, but didn’t match Nile crocs kept at Disney’s Animal Kingdom and other licensed Florida attractions. That means the crocs probably were brought to Florida illegally by an unlicensed reptile collector who either didn’t contain them properly, allowing them to escape, or, more sinisterly, planted them in the Everglades in hopes they would multiply.

The Nile croc, if it became established in the Everglades, would pose another invasive threat to its teetering ecosystem. Through crossbreeding, they could endanger the smaller, less aggressive American crocodiles, which have never been responsible for a confirmed human death in the U.S. About 1,000 American crocodiles live in South Florida, mostly in mangroves and estuaries. Any hybrids would degrade the genetic integrity of the endangered American variety.

Nile crocodiles can grow upwards of 16 feet long, can weigh more than 1,600 pounds, and are believed to be responsible for up to 200 fatalities annually in sub-Saharan Africa. 

Tags: , , , ,

We welcome readers to submit letters regarding articles and content in Orlando Weekly. Letters should be a minimum of 150 words, refer to content that has appeared on Orlando Weekly, and must include the writer's full name, address, and phone number for verification purposes. No attachments will be considered. Writers of letters selected for publication will be notified via email. Letters may be edited and shortened for space.

Email us at

Support Local Journalism.
Join the Orlando Weekly Press Club

Local journalism is information. Information is power. And we believe everyone deserves access to accurate independent coverage of their community and state. Our readers helped us continue this coverage in 2020, and we are so grateful for the support.

Help us keep this coverage going in 2021. Whether it's a one-time acknowledgement of this article or an ongoing membership pledge, your support goes to local-based reporting from our small but mighty team.

Join the Orlando Weekly Press Club for as little as $5 a month.


Never miss a beat

Sign Up Now

Subscribe now to get the latest news delivered right to your inbox.

Read the Digital Print Issue

January 19, 2022

View more issues


© 2022 Orlando Weekly

Website powered by Foundation