The Great Predator: Facts About Florida's New 'Man-Eating' Invader, Nile Crocodile
Human-devouring crocodiles have recently been spotted roaming in Florida, baffling the scientists and prompting them to ask how such invasive species got there.
Few years back, three crocodiles were separately found near Miami (2009, 2011 and 2014). Science Daily reported that recent DNA tests conducted by scientists from university of Florida revealed that these crocodiles are not just any other crocodile, rather they are Nile crocodiles.
Upon examining the samples, the researchers also found out that the DNA don't match the DNA of any live Nile crocodiles housed in U.S. zoos, suspecting that they were escapees from the pet trade. In addition, they also grow faster in Florida than wild Nile crocodile juveniles in their native range.
A new species being introduced in an already established ecosystem could be potentially harmful to the entire ecosystem. But more than that, it is especially scary for the people because it is an enormous crocodile that hungers for human flesh.
In the last four years alone, Nile crocodiles were responsible for at least 480 attacks on people and 123 fatalities in Africa.
Here's everything you need to know about the Nile crocodile:
- Nile crocodiles are large scaled, lizard-shaped reptile with four short legs and a long muscular tail.
- According to National Geographic, Nile crocodiles, Africa's second largest crocodiles reach maximum size of about 20 feet (6 meters) and can weigh up to 1,650 pounds (730 kilograms).
- They are native in the freshwater marshes and mangrove swamps of sub-Saharan Africa, the Nile Basin, and Madagascar in rivers.
- Nile crocodiles usually feed on fish, but it also devour zebras, birds, hippos, basically anything that crosses its path.
- They are more aggressive than American crocodiles. It is dubbed as a species with the strongest bite in the animal kingdom.
- Unlike most reptiles, they tend to show more caring behavior towards their eggs. Mother and father Nile crocs ferociously guard their nests until the eggs hatch. Once they hatch, the female will carry them to the water using her mouth.
- Female nile crocodiles can lay 25-100 eggs, which she covers with sand, then guards until they hatch.
- Classified as endangered, Nile crocodiles can live approximately 45 years in the wild.