A neighborhood has been terrorized by a crocodile that ate a dog – with residents pleading for help and saying they’ve never seen anything like it.
Indian Harbor Beach, Florida – about 70 miles east of Orlando – has been plagued by a wild crocodile for months. Some residents report that the eight- to nine-foot reptile is moving closer and closer to their homes.
“I’ve lived here for over 10 years and we’ve never seen anything like this,” Cheri Marks said Fox 35.
Marks was concerned about the animal from the start and is working with community leaders to bring the situation under control.
Brad Dyer said the crocodile entered his backyard last weekend and could have stayed there much longer, but he noticed it after he returned from church.
He told the outlet that it had stayed infor about half an hour.
“So far all we’ve gotten are answers that this is their natural habitat and there’s nothing we can do about it,” Dyer said.
“They are a protected species.”
According to neighbors, the canal where the animal lives is full of activity.
It is the same area where the crocodile is known to hide under the deck.
“I feel like they’re putting the crocodile’s concerns ahead of the people’s concerns,” Marks said.
After the sighting was reported over the weekend, the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC), Marks said the organization sent her an email telling her the animal was “basking itself,” which is often confused with the creature’s cheekiness.
“I reached out several times. They told me to keep in touch and if the behavior changed they would look at what could be done,” Marks said.
However, there is a chance that cooler weather could cause the animal to leave, experts say.
“The chances are very good that it will go back south,” said Joe Wasilewski, a conservation biologist who specializes in crocodiles.
Wasilewski said crocodiles need warmer water to thrive, but relocating them can be challenging because of government protection measures.
“They are managed by the FWC and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, and the last thing either agency wants to do is relocate the animal,” he said.