Sightings of American crocodiles have increased as the result of their recovery along with the growing number of people spending time on or near the waters of south Florida. Due to the American crocodile’s shy and reclusive nature, conflicts between them and people are extremely rare in Florida.
Occasionally American crocodiles will come into developed areas but often quickly move on. Even if a crocodile remains in the area, there is no reason to be alarmed. People can safely coexist with American crocodiles by following a few common sense safety tips or viewing the video below.
People who are concerned about a crocodile should call 866-392-4286 (866-FWC-GATOR), and one of our crocodile response agents will respond.
Tips For Safely Coexisting With Crocodiles
- Keep a safe distance if you see a crocodile. Be aware that crocodiles often will bask with an open mouth to regulate their body temperature, and there’s no cause for concern if you see this behavior.
- Swim only in designated swimming areas and only during daylight hours. Crocodiles are most active between dusk and dawn.
- Keep pets on a leash and away from the water, even designated swimming areas, because they can resemble the crocodile’s natural prey.
- Pet owners who live on the water where American crocodiles may occur should consider erecting fencing on their property that effectively places a barrier between their pets and crocodiles.
- Never feed crocodiles – it is illegal and dangerous. When fed, they can overcome their natural wariness and learn to associate people with food.
- Dispose of fish scraps in designated waste containers because discarding scraps in the water may attract them. Also, avoid feeding other aquatic animals such as ducks because that also can attract crocodiles.
If you're concerned about a crocodile, call 866-392-4286 (866-FWC-GATOR). FWC staff will offer educational information about safely living with crocodiles. If warranted, a site visit may be done to evaluate the location and behavior and determine a course of action.
Often, the best course of action is to simply give the crocodile time to move on. Depending on the crocodile’s size, behavior, and situation the animal might be captured and moved. Moving problem animals, however is often unsuccessful because crocodiles can, and usually do, return to their capture site, even traveling over long distances to get there. Moving usually results in only a temporary solution to the problem. Additionally, some of these animals die as a result of handling or while attempting to return to their capture site. If a problem crocodile continues to return to the capture site, or its behavior presents an unacceptable risk to people, it could be removed from the wild, under certain circumstances, and placed into captivity.
For American crocodiles to continue to recover, people must be willing to coexist with them whenever possible. If you see an American crocodile, consider yourself lucky - crocodiles are rare and reclusive and few Floridians get an opportunity to observe them in the wild!
Attention: Class I Wildlife Permit Holders
If you are currently permitted to operate an exhibit that is open to the public or provide educational presentations and are interested in providing a home to an American crocodile that we remove from the wild, you may contact the Alligator Management Program via the FWC's Statewide Nuisance Alligator Hotline (1-866-FWC-GATOR [866-392-4286]) or by emailing SNAP@MyFWC.com.