ISLAMORADA (CBSMiami) – An Islamorada resident got a surprise visitor at home on Tuesday. It was a 12-foot crocodile.
Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission officers and a FWC trapper responded to the home at Mile Marker 76.5 to remove the unwanted guest.
The croc was given a brief check-up, fitted with a GPS locator and moved to an undetermined location.
While some may find it strange to find a crocodile in South Florida, they are actually quite common.
Crocodiles are shy, reclusive animals who live in brackish or saltwater areas. They are occasionally encountered inland in freshwater areas of the Southeast Florida coast as a result of the extensive canal system.
How do you tell the difference between an alligator and a crocodile? Just look at its nose.
Alligators have a wide, rounded u-shaped snout, while crocodiles have long, pointed, v-shaped snouts.
About 1,000 American crocodiles live in South Florida, mostly in mangroves and estuaries, where they feed on small mammals, birds, fish and crustaceans.
Several hundreds of those make their home in the cooling canals surrounding Turkey Point nuclear power plant. Turkey Point and the surrounding areas is one of only three major habitats for the American Crocodile in the U.S. The other two are Everglades National Park and Crocodile Lake National Wildlife Refuge in Key Largo.
American crocodiles range in color from gray-yellow to brown, can grow up to 15 feet long and weigh as much as 2,000 pounds.
The American crocodile is listed as an endangered species by the U.S. and the State of Florida.