So the words “crocodile on the loose” are generally not the most welcome you’ll hear, but they are much better than these five: “Nile crocodile on the loose.” Unfortunately, you may hear this exact refrain in the Miami area right now, as a Nile croc — much faster, more vicious, and more people-hungry than the American crocodile — escaped from a local breeder and is just wandering around, enjoying its freedom. Luckily, it’s only three feet long now, but keep in mind it’s getting bigger. Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission operatives have been directed to shoot to kill. This isn’t the first time: Two more Nile crocs were recently captured in the same area.
Apparently, some genius actually caught this particular crocodile back in March and then let it go, so it’s totally onto the fact that people are after it. The fugitive croc was last spotted in a canal in Homestead, and despite a long and costly search, the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission seems to understand it wouldn’t be prudent to just call this one a miss. Just as Florida leads the nation in hanging chads and screened-in porches the size of football fields, it is also the state harboring the greatest number of invasive species. There are so many Burmese Pythons in Florida now that wildlife managers have given up on controlling the problem and officially manage them as a resident species.
How do you tell a “good croc” from a killer one? American crocs are lighter in color, have a ridge running down the center of their face, and their eyes bulge a little more. Basically, they just look a little goofier and/or less interested in murder. Only state officials have a license to shoot the darker-colored Nile croc, but this being Florida, you could probably get away with it if you claimed he pulled a gun first.
Nile croc on the loose near Miami, tampa bay times.