As terrifying as alligators may look to us, they’re really not that dangerous compared to some other Florida wildlife. They just want to chill and be left alone, thus they rarely attack people without a very good reason. It is their cousin, the crocodile that you really have to watch out for. Lucky for us, crocodiles don’t generally live in Florida, aside from the small population of relatively timid American Crocodiles that live way down south in the Keys. Oh … and the extremely dangerous Nile Crocodiles that scientists just discovered hanging out in the Everglades, several thousand miles from their natural habitat in Africa.
Florida has always had issues with invasive species being introduced into the ecosystem, from the wild monkeys of Silver Springs that, depending on who you believe, were either purposely released to entice tourists or escaped during the filming of a Tarzan film in 1932, to the current Burmese Python catastrophe that has hunters flocking to the Everglades to kill them before they can kill everything else. Invasive species can be harmful to the local ecosystem, as we are seeing with the pythons and with the growing population of Lionfish that are threatening native sea creatures.
The introduction of Nile Crocodiles, however, is not just a threat to the fragile environment of Florida, but also to us. Nile Crocs are a lot more aggressive than their American counterparts and one of their favorite hobbies is attacking people. In their African homeland, they are known to kill several hundred humans each year. We all know that Florida has a reputation for not having the brightest population, so one can only imagine the consequences of these crocs establishing a large colony here. The number of people that might get their heads ripped off trying to take selfies could be astronomical.
So far, only three of these crocodiles have been identified, and they were removed. There is no guarantee that any more will be found, but if three of them managed to make it here, who knows how many more might be hiding out in the swamps.
Where is the Crocodile Hunter when you need him?