Florida, the Sunshine State, is synonymous with American Alligators. There are the Florida Gators, Alligator Alley, the list goes on.
While Florida is synonymous with the American alligator (Alligator mississippiensis), there are also American Crocodiles (Crocodylus acutus) found throughout South Florida and the Florida Everglades National Park.
In the United States, the American Crocodile is only found in Florida and really just throughout South Florida. But they are easily identifiable because they can grow a LOT larger than alligators and have a narrower snout, amongst other differentiating features.
One of these rare crocodiles was just spotted remarkably far north. The Melbourne Beach Police Department released a statement acknowledging that one was in Melbourne, FL ‘hanging around Sixth Avenue River Access and the Key Streets.’
The Melbourne Beach Police shared additional photos:
Melbourne is 200 miles away from the Everglades and just north of Tampa but on the other side of the state. For a crocodile to swim that far north it had to travel a very long way.
But this isn’t just any Florida crocodile, it’s special. The Facebook post from the Melbourne Beach Police said “This crocodile has been tagged with a telemetry unit to track him. There are less than 12 statewide that are wearing this unit. They picked him because he’s one of the northernmost American crocodiles, and they want to follow where he goes in the winter.”
They also shared this helpful video on how to live safely alongside American Crocodiles:
There are an estimated 1,500 to 2,000 American crocodiles in Florida. But as mentioned above, they are almost entirely concentrated to the Florida Everglades, Florida Keys, and south of Miami.
The only times I’ve ever seen them are fishing in The Everglades when they were sunning themselves on tidal islands and in The Keys.