Croc Boom At Turkey Point Boosts Species

HOMESTEAD (CBS4) – Once on the endangered species list, the American crocodile has flourished in a most unlikely place.

In the shadow of a nuclear power plant.

The plant, FPL’s Turkey Point Nuclear Power Plant uses over 150 miles of man made canals to help cool the atomic fueled operation.

But there are no two headed toads or three eyed Ibises in this non radioactive water loop, instead there are plenty of crocodiles.

The canals act as a natural habitat and because the site is on FPL land, rarely sees human activity.

That’s where Bob Bertelson and Mario Aldecoa come in.  They work for FPL’s Land Utilization unit monitoring the ground water and wildlife on the sprawling property.

Bertelson says he’s seen a ten fold increase in the number of croc in the last 20 years.

A pleasant surprise for the reptile loving biologist who says, “Do not turn your back on a croc, they are unpredictable.”

More from Craig Setzer
  • Sue

    Truly excellent story, both informative and interesting, too — it’s rare that a meteorologist can do such a good job reporting as well…give this guy a big raise for double-duty!

    • George Fuller

      Don’t they really mean alligators?

      • kls

        No these are American crocodile, they are far more dangerous than alligators. If you see an alligators in the water you should get near the bank so that you can get out if he takes and interest in you.

        If you see an crocodile in the water you must leave it immediately. They will attack you. I live in FL, and an not really happy to hear this animal is making a comeback. They are extremely territorial.

      • Cliff Claven

        Can’t say what they really meant, but there is a small population of American Crocodiles in southern Florida. Since the alligator is not endangered, the context would indeed indicate the crocs.

      • Kingfish

        I thought Nancy P was going to drain the swamp, we need to relocate these liberal eating alligators to the Potomac and Anacostia rivers in D.C., they will thrive even more.

    • Tex

      Don’t panic BUT I saw this same thing happen in a JAP horror film and the turtles got huge and coluld fl;y and kill..

      • ablecynic

        Yeah, they don’t mention that the young alligators are already 40 feet long and growing fast. And that they have a taste for human flesh. And they like to surface right under boats when there are fishermen in them. Yeah, I saw the same movie.

    • esther goldber

      This is great, it should drop the price of alligator purses for us ladies!

      • Ancient Pollyanna

        Except that these are crocs. Isn’t that some kind of rubber?

  • Sara

    I’d venture to guess that the temperature of the water must play a factor. Manatees flourish in this warmer water too and congregate in these spots during the winter.

    • Kevin Pearson

      Same thing with the caribou around the Alaskan pipeline. The herd is attracted to the warmth that is given off by the pipeline and the size of the herd has tripled.

      There was even a story years back, how off-shore drilling platforms had seen the drilling pipe that extends to the ocean floor, have become sort of like artificial reefs teeming with marine activity in wares that were otherwise “dead zones”.

      Funny, that the enviro-wacko protest anything that would permit a BIG CORPORATION from operating, anytime you see a BIG CORPORATE OPERATION, where they make BIG MONEY, you see a lot more “environment” than before.

    • Silhouette

      I believe you are 100% correct. In addidtion to a more hospitible environment, the warmer water that attracts the manatees gives the crocs added, easily attainable food (young manatees, fish, turtles, etc.). It’s natural that they would multiply……or maybe migrate to the warm water oasis’.

      • phil

        IT is comments like these that keep me reading comments. So refreshing to see a good point made simply discussing the article at hand. Without a stab at politics, or another commenter. And a reply with more good points in a respectful manner. God I wish more people could behave like adults online. Seriously World of Warcraft chats are usually more civilized than these. But I definitely agree with you guys. I imagine the plant has so many canals because the water circulates through the plant fairly rapidly and then is left in the canals to cool for quite a while. I would be interested to know just how much warmer this water is than nearby streams. Also I bet the water is much cleaner because it is most like filtered before it goes through the plant.

    • Kevin

      I read that the sandy banks of the canals are ideal for nesting crocs.They get bigger than Alligators too, a 17′ Croc has already been measured & released. There’s also a buffet of introduced species for them to feed on.

      • Dave

        ridiculous. Use Google maps next time before wasting your time typing. Turkey Point is located south of Miami. The water is always warm whether there is a power plant or not.

      • Jason W

        Why is warmer temp water better? Everything I’ve been told is that warmer temps are going to kill our planet, that’s why we must fight global warming.

    • Joe

      Seems logical. I’m only a farmer but if this is a mystery to the trained, no wonder we have so many stupid conservation laws. Geese which are still on the endangered species list are covering us in excrement up here in the midwest. New construction requires collection pools and the pools not only collect water but many geese.

  • capoprimo

    Why does this surprise anyone? Everything grows better in a warmer climate and warmet water should not be the exception!

  • Kevin Stowell

    I realize all those Eddie-Bauer greenies are reluctant to get out of their Land Rovers when they can fabricate the realities of ecology/envrironment but this is nothing new. The water stays warmer, on average, year round than before, probably. That was the case with the plant in Clinton, IL, where the fish are much larger and more numerous in the cooling lakes than in the “natural” lakes in the are.

  • Ted

    Teenage Mutant Ninja Crocodiles?

  • Philip Hopkins

    this is news? the water stays warmer. activity is high all year round. everyone eats more. if you fish, you know this is the place to do it. you gonna pull out some whopper bass. there is no slow season at a plant.

    • Hudson

      It’s news to the vast majority of the populace, who think fission involves a line and a reel.

    • Nomad

      Exactly! There is a natural gas power plant near where I live and the crocs and fish love the warm water in the cooling lake. This is not related to the plant being nuclear at all. No news here.

  • Jed

    Time to fire up the BBQ and eat some crocs.

  • Cam

    And this is news?

    • Brother Joshua

      Yes, it is. They call it a human interest story. All the papers have them, even in Miami. I know, I know, you are more interested in watching fat Chinese children doing calisthenics. But I find this interesting, and I truly think you should too.

  • Carole

    Florida has alligators, not crocodiles.

    • Kevin Pearson

      Crocodiles are a lot “shier” than alligators, so they are not seen as easily as alligators, but they ARE THERE. They stay away from humans more, (as the article indicated there are no humans in the area) They are typically found in the mangroves of the Keys.


      Carole. Please educate yourself. Your ignorance is showing.

    • steve5150

      Sorry Carol, but Florida also supports a good size crocodile population.

    • Nolan

      Actually, it has both. Google is your friend, in this case…

    • Aristotle 120

      Has both.

      • Mark Matis

        And plenty of crocks as well. Crocks of something or other, mostly imported from higher latitudes…

    • Tom Walter

      Wrong, We Have Crocs Down Here Too.

    • Silhouette

      Actially, the American crocodile found in Florida waters is why alligators were put on the endangered species list…because the average Joe can’t tell a croc from a gator…so to protect the crocs, BOTH were added to the endangered species list…even though Florida is rife with gators.

    • denise

      The Croc can live in both salt and brackish water, while the gator only fresh. It IS a concern IF the Croc are feeding on the protected Manatee.

      • Former Miamian

        Tell the croc his dinner is protected! I’m sure that will help!

      • A1 sauce

        You don’t want to tangle with either one.
        The salt water crocodile is/was extremely rare.
        At one point there were supposedly fewer than five hundred around the terminus of the Everglades water flow.
        Good for the crocs!

      • oceandc

        Although very rare, alligators have been known to venture into salt water also. When I was in my early 20’s, about 30 years ago, I actually accidentally hooked one shark fishing at the Big Pine Key Fishing Lodge. The owners said that particular alligator had been there for years. He was released unharmed and last I heard was still there; but that was at least 20 years ago. Being a Marine Biologist it shocked the heck out of me but since then I have seen a couple more in the Loxahatchee River in Jupiter, Fl.

      • crock of what ?

        “IF the Croc are feeding on the protected Manatee.”

        Oh the in-hu-manatee of it all !

  • steve5150

    Nothing really surprising here. Manatees are only in Southern Florida because of power plants. They allow these animals to winter north of their normal range by creating a warm “micro habitat”. I guess crocs prefer warmer waters as well.

  • phillysmart

    Probably due to the fact that their most dangerous enmy (humans” are scarce

  • Don Kuchta

    Wrong, a species of crocidiles does exist in Florida.

  • Gary

    SHHHHH. Don’t let the enviromental whackos hear this!

  • Kyle

    If the crocodiles are dependent on the waters adjacent to the power plant they are still endangered. Power plants don’t last forever and creating a “bubble” of artificial habitat isn’t sparing them from disaster..its setting them up for disaster once that power plant is decommissioned.

    • zeak

      That is good reason to protect humans so the crocs can prosper. I knew there was a reason for living

    • Joel

      That sounds like the welfare state in nutshell…

    • denise

      Did anyone claim that they were dependent on the area. Crocs/Gators will go were the food is abundant.

  • Rick O'Shea

    Stupid story, who’d a guess crocs would like a warmer water environment?

  • Michael Pelt

    A nuclear power plant actually helped the environment. The environmental treehugging wackos won’t like to hear this!

  • JoeShmo1979

    Maybe the growith isnt something so fantastic as radioactivity and mutations but simply that the water around the plant is heated more than is natural to the area. Making the environment more tropical like. The more warmth the longer the growth period. This is true of fish as well. Bass in Florida grow significantly larger than those in Georgia or Alabama.

  • nad

    How many tax dollars did this cost us .Should have just asked the crocodile hunters

  • Fanden

    MY sister worked at a nuke plant in Illinois. They used to fish in the cooling ponds. When we went to tour the facility, we were instructed NOT to make any jokes about 3-eyed fish or some such you would be escorted out by security.

    • Nelson J Struck

      Those nuke plant folks are not known for their sense of humor.

  • freecheese

    I was always told that Crocodiles aren’t in to the U. S., but rather we only have Aligators.
    I live on the Gulf Coast and have NEVER seen a crock, but rather, some big gators.
    There is a difference, and when one writes about gators, they need to educate themselves.
    Last time I checked, crocks were common south of the Equator.
    If you can tell me otherwise, please let me know.

    • Kevin Pearson

      Uh, maybe because the crocodiles hang out in the mangrove swamps in the Keys, were there are few humans. Alligators are more aggressive and invade human neighborhoods. Crocs don’t.


      I am amazed at how uninformed the American public remains on the wildlife in Florida…. which does INDEED have crocodiles. It has gators too… and how a multitude of various species of pythons, boas and other exotics. But the crocs have been in Florida forever! So, “Freecheese”… please educate yourself. The internet can help you.

    • Zackg

      Yes, south florida does have a small population of American Crocodiles, which are more common in Latin America. Gators are abundant throughout the gulf coast.

  • A. james

    Huh. I didn’t think anything could be scarier than a zombie apocalypse. I suppose I stand corrected…

  • zackg

    It would be cool to see the crocs make a big come back. Those things are huge when they get full grown, much bigger than the gators which made a comeback years ago.

  • mirted

    This is truly good news for handbag, belt,purse, vest and cowboy boot buyers!
    Hot items for Christmas. Let’s give new meaning to “Harvest Time” and prevent
    a disaster that will occur when they overpopulate and start looking for other sources of nourishment. I can see a “Crocodile Spring” in early 2012. This will be one Michelle Obama can really get behind and be “proud of her country” for being so fashion sensitive.

  • R. L. Hails Sr. P. E.

    About 2/3 of the heat generated in any thermoelectric power plant, nuclear or fossil fueled, flows out as a river of warm water. Some species thrive in this perpetual environment. If the plant shuts down, and no protective actions are taken, a massive kill may occur. Other species, e.g trout, can not tolerate warm water; they will die in this environment. If the effect is bad, the water is cooled in massive curved towers, where the heat goes into the air.

    Consider the cloud flowing from any cooling tower; it is identical to a rain cloud. Compare its size to a rain system that ranges from the Gulf to New England. This gives scale to man made energy relative to the energy in nature.

    This is true, not a croc story.

  • John Houpt

    lots of Crocs in the Everglades as well…they migrate to the warmer water of the power plant…..the American Croc is passive, unlike their Salty cousins, i have never had any problems with them. more problems from the over population of gators!!! look me up if you want to go visit them!!!
    Capt John

    • denise

      The American Croc lives in Salt water too!

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