American crocodiles (Crocodylus acutus) are a shy and reclusive species. They live in coastal areas throughout the Caribbean, and occur at the northern end of their range in south Florida. They live in brackish or saltwater areas, and can be found in ponds, coves, and creeks in mangrove swamps. They are occasionally being encountered inland in freshwater areas of the SE Florida coast as a result of the extensive canal system.
Like alligators, crocodiles are ectothermic, meaning they rely on external sources of heat to regulate their body temperature. Crocodiles control their body temperature by basking in the sun, or moving to areas with warmer or cooler air or water temperatures.
A basking crocodile may be surprised by an approaching person and quickly (and noisily) enter the water. This behavior might startle the person, but it should not be misunderstood. Crocodiles would normally enter the water quietly; splashing away indicates that the crocodile is frightened.
Crocodiles can also be seen sunning with their mouths open, or "gaping." This behavior is also related to regulating their body temperature, and does not mean that the crocodile is acting aggressively toward people.
The FWC is looking for Crocodile Response Agents (CRA) in the upper Florida Keys. Applicants must live in the area from and including Long Key to Key Largo. CRAs assist FWC’s Crocodile Response Coordinator with issues involving American crocodiles. The position is a part-time, non-benefited, hourly (OPS) position. Hours will vary with season and calls. CRAs must furnish their own vehicles and equipment. They are involved in site visits, carcass recoveries, and capture and translocations of American crocodiles. Preference will be given to individuals with experience capturing and handling crocodilians, place of residence in relation to work area, availability to respond to calls, and experience in customer service. Interested applicants should email SNAP@MyFWC.com with questions and to request an application. Include “Crocodile Response Agent” in the subject line of the e-mail.
"Living With Crocodiles" brochure (pdf 4mb)
Where can I go to observe crocodiles?
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