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African crocodile in Florida Everglades stumps wildlife experts

NATIONAL PARK SERVICE

NATIONAL PARK SERVICE


Digital writers
theweathernetwork.com

Monday, May 26, 2014, 9:46 AM - Investigation continues into the mysterious appearance of an African crocodile in the Florida Everglades.

Wildlife experts say they are "stumped" by the West African crocodile that was captured in March.

A DNA test proved the five-foot-long reptile did not escape a nearby breeder, the Orlando Sentinel reported.

"In a criminal investigation launched after its capture, the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission took samples from 10 Nile crocodiles at a nearby breeder. The analysis "does not strongly support" the conclusion they are related to the one captured in the Everglades, according to results from Hector Cruz-Lopez, an agency forensic scientist," the Orlando Sentinel says.


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Despite the relatively small size of the crocodile, the appearance of the reptile has been taken extremely seriously by law enforcement officials.

Officials say it's likely a West African crocodile, a newly classified species that tended to be found in Egyptian graves as an offering to the god with a crocodile head, Sobek.

According to Frank Mazzotti, a crocodile expert and professor of wildlife ecology at the University of Florida, the crocodile is likely not an invasive threat to the Everglades, but there could be another one lurking in the area.

Mazzotti says there have been reports coming in of a "strange-looking alligator or crocodile."

"Looking into the future, whether it's a Nile croc or another species, based on our climate and the number of crocs out there, this is not going to be the last strange croc we see," said Mazzotti in the Orlando Sentinel report.

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