Why Are Nile Crocodiles Invading Florida?

Why Are Nile Crocodiles Invading Florida

Image source: Pixabay.com

The ecosystem in each area of the world is different. This is why there are certain places with a lot of fauna and flora, while other places only have a few species of very resistant flowers. Animals tend to adapt faster than people to a change in ecosystem.

However, it’s not unusual to see Nile crocodiles in Florida. As a matter of fact, Nile crocodiles have invaded Florida last year. In this article, we are going to offer you more information about this species. Also, here you can see why these crocodiles have invaded Everglades.

Nile Crocodiles: General Information

This crocodile (Crocodylus Niloticus) is a species commonly found in Africa, in the Nile River. It is the largest freshwater predator in that area. The Nile Crocodile is widespread in the sub-Saharan Africa and it is mostly found in the eastern, southern, and central regions of this continent.

This large animal usually stays near rivers and lakes all around Africa. As you probably know, the Nile crocodile was first an inhabitant of the Nile River. In time, this species spread all around the continent. On average, a male crocodile can reach up to 5 m and weights about 750 kg. Unfortunately, this is a very aggressive species that can also attack people.

Nile Crocodiles Invading Florida

While in Florida there are two species of crocodiles, the Nile crocodile is not one of them. Normally, Florida is the house of the American alligator and the Everglades Alligator. The first species is small, and it is very peaceful with people. Even the Everglades Alligator which is larger still has a kind behavior. Usually, alligators are not as aggressive as crocodiles.

Despite this fact, there are some species of crocodiles, like the American crocodiles which are not that aggressive. However, all of this changed when the Nile Crocodiles started to invade Florida. This species of crocodiles, as previously mentioned, it is highly aggressive, and it can attack and kill people. Also, they enjoy cattle which can be a big problem for farmers in the area of Everglades.

These animals started to appear in Florida 2 years ago. While there were some Nile Crocodiles at special facilities, the ones that appeared in the Everglades were wild specimens. This is why researchers started to worry. If the population grows, it can affect the fragile ecosystem in Florida. These large crocodiles can endanger small alligators and cause a lot of harm to farmers and their livestock.

Why Are Nile Crocodiles Invading Florida?

At first, it was a rumor which stated that this species might have swam across the Atlantic Ocean. This rumor was spread all across Florida. Fortunately, scientists mentioned that this is impossible. This should be seen as a good sign because this lowers the risk of more crocodiles coming to Florida.

However, there is still an unanswered question: How did they come to Florida? The most common belief is that these animals were actually brought illegally in the country. It is believed that an exotic pet owner smuggled them into the country without an authorization and without reporting the wild specimens to the authorities.

This wouldn’t have been a problem if the owner kept the animals in a special facility and took care of them. However, the owner let them into the wild. Some believe that these animals escaped or that the owner knowingly released them because he or she couldn’t care for them.

When some of these specimens were discovered and caught by specialists, it was observed that they were extremely large. This might mean that the owner had them for a long period of time. After researchers studies the animals and collected the DNA they observed something very important. The specimens captured matched DNA, but they did not match the DNA of other crocodiles which are in captivity in Florida.

Unfortunately, specialists are unable to know if these animals are the only specimens in Florida. The other crocodiles could be hiding and some of them could be reproducing in the Everglades. This has a major impact on the ecosystem. First of all, they are man-eaters, and this can lead to more death caused by crocodiles. Also, they can affect the livestock in the area. Another big problem is the coral reefs. These Nile crocodiles can endanger the coral reefs all over Florida.

Conclusion

These are some of the most important things about the Nile Crocodiles that invaded Florida. While researchers haven’t captured any other specimens since last year, there could be more Nile crocodiles in Florida. We’ll just have to wait and hope that these two specimens were the only ones.

 

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