Crocodile spotted in South Miami neighborhood
SOUTH MIAMI, Fla. (WSVN) -- A crocodile seen near an elementary school and on people's lawn furniture has slipped away again.
It's about 9-feet long and Florida Fish & Wildlife officials said they would have trapped it and taken it away, but for some reason, the murky water in a neighborhood lake seemed to be it's sweet spot.
The crocodile settled himself on the shores of a South Miami canal.
"The first time we saw it, we didn't really know what it was," said James Henriquez, a child who lives in the area.
With good reason because as soon as the creature sinks in to the water he turns nearly invisible, and, experts say, crocs are a shy and retiring breed.
"He doesn't really cause any havoc," said Jorge Pino of the Florida Fish & Wildlife Conservation. "Crocodiles are very elusive. They just want to be left alone. They're smart, and they're fast, but that's about it. They're not going to come after you."
Of course, neighbors do not want it to get any closer than a steel gate, and James is keeping his cat Mystique tucked inside. "Your pets, however, are in danger if you're not walking your pets on a leash," said Pino.
"There was about 13 baby ducks, and now we're down to two," said Nancy Edwards, a neighbor, "so he's eating very well."
Wildlife officials caged this same croc just a few blocks away on July 25. The number 7 tag on his tail flags the reptile's identity, and they put magnets on its snout, to keep from returning to the neighborhood. "It actually throws off that sophisticated honing system [crocodiles have]," Pino explained.
However, number 7 found his way back to his comfort zone once again.
Edwards thinks this animal is a victim of its shrinking habitat to over-development. "I feel like I'm in the Everglades," she said. "Because we've seen so much wildlife destroyed."
Florida Fish & Wildlife said that to be safe, do not swim in the canal water. Also, they said, that dawn and dusk are the hours when crocs look to feed. They said if humans start to feed them, they get used to the behavior and become a problem.
Wildlife officials said they will continue to watch the area, but if the crocodile becomes a problem, then they will try to trap it again and take it to a sanctuary.
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