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Crocodile Spotted off Popular South Florida Fishing Pier

American crocodile crashes popular South Florida fishing pier among schools of bait. Hey, crocs like mullet too.

Crocodile Spotted off Popular South Florida Fishing Pier

The crocodile was outfitted with some bling—a research tracker—so its habits will lend well to research efforts in order to understand this unique native species further.

An American crocodile was spotted this week at the Pompano Beach Pier, captured on video below by Lauren Cheshire. She explains, “There was tons of bait at the pier but he seemed to just be relaxing not going for it. It kept coming and going from the pier. It would swim south and then eventually pop back up.”

Another onlooker, Spicoley Nicole Cook, captured additional footage (third clip in the video) and shared, “It was very calm and carefree. Looked extremely healthy. Good weight, color, movement. No visible injuries.”

Crocodile in Pompano Beach

Lifeguards on duty at the time raised the double red flags, which signals the beach is shut down for swimmers. FWC was notified and the responding officer “determined to let it be.” The croc in question is tagged and being tracked, so these habits will lend well to research efforts in order to understand this unique species further.

To experts, it doesn’t come as too much of a shock as crocodiles are known to inhabit saltwater and venture in search of crabs and fish— and a pier is the perfect structure to take a breather in between cruising some siiiiick swells, brah.

Are there crocodiles in Florida?

crocodile swimming under pompano beach pier near pylons
While some watchers may have been concerned about the Pompano Beach crocodile, American crocodiles are relatively docile and shy. They often venture to inlets and piers in search of fish and crabs. How decadent!

While the Sunshine State is well-known for its gator population, many residents and visitors don't realize we also harbor a unique species of crocodile in Florida, the American crocodile. Unlike some other crocodile species, American crocodiles are generally shy and reclusive. They move with quiet precision but if they are startled they have a habit of splashing around loudly, which actually indicates fear rather than aggression. It's worth noting, that like with any crocodilian, when mating season rolls around you don't want to be anywhere near a crocodile or alligator. From March to June, aggression and territorial disputes between these reptiles are at their peak and you should heed caution.

Are crocodiles native to Florida?

The American crocodile is a Florida native with a range spanning from Central Florida southward throughout the Caribbean. Once endangered, the species is now considered “threatened” with an estimated 2,000 American crocodiles in Florida today. Of the 23 different species of crocodilians in the world, only two species of native crocodilians inhabit the United States, the American crocodile and the American alligator. Florida is the only place where both of these species coexist.

Is seeing a crocodile in Florida rare?

crocodile swimming at pompano beach pier
Crocodiles thrive in waters of all salinity ranges, unlike alligators who can only tolerate saltwater for short periods. The crocodile in Pompano Beach will likely hang around for a few days before moving on.

While seeing an American crocodile at the beach is not unheard of, it's still a pretty special sighting. Spotting a crocodile in Florida in any circumstance is rare given their struggling population and is certainly something worthy of being shared with our readers.

Experts say it will likely take a few days until the croc moves on, so until then the beach remains closed to swimmers… but I bet the fishing is great!




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