Sunday, October 4, 2015

Crocodile

The Key West Citizen posted a photograph of a juvenile (we're told) American Crocodile sunning itself off Smathers Beach.
The wild creature was seen (in the wild) off Dog Beach as well. I am not terribly fond of Dog Beach as Cheyenne doesn't swim and  therefore what's the point of us going? But for other dog owners this is a quiet corner dedicated to letting your dog prance around and swim. Not with a crocodile in the offing. Even if it's  a small one.
AS you might imagine a crocodile sighting has had the urban dwellers of Conchtown up in arms with lots of bravado and chest inflating. Talk of guns and posses and threatening to run the invader out of town on a rail etc...etc... You can imagine the nonsense they speak, people who like to think of themselves as debonair dwellers in the Tropics who have no facility with life as it is lived in the land of cockroaches, scorpions snakes and dinosaurs. 
Wildlife experts (scientists, please note) will tell you that crocodiles are docile shy creatures who want nothing more than to be left alone. Mostly they inhabit Florida Bay between the Upper Keys and mainland Florida but a few trundle down the Keys to be spotted lurking in the mangroves of Cow Key Channel from time to time. The only alligators in the Keys are to be found in the Blue Hole, a freshwater former quarry on Big Pine Key:
They are different creatures than the more familiar and widely seen alligators, they have narrow snouts and snaggle teeth (like anyone is noticing these minor differences at the critical time) but most importantly alligators live in fresh water and crocodiles live in salt water ( and crocodiles are few enough in number to be endangered).
I have a healthy respect for predators, be they snakes sharks of dinosaurs of either sort and I don't play with them or provoke them. But I respect their need to live and in the case of snakes bats and spiders I love how they clean up the insect and rodent life for us. There has only even been one recorded crocodile attack ever in Florida and two stupid people swam in a canal known to harbor crocodiles. They did it at dusk when the predators are out and they got their limbs scratched for their trouble. No sane sensible person has ever been attacked by alligators but idiots to get in their way and alligators will kill you by drowning you and stash your body underwater until you rot when you are easier to tear apart and eat. So if you don't like that sort of a fate don't provoke alligators. But people do and then the alligators are blamed for behaving as they should. 
And one other thing, from experience I can tell you that watching dinosaurs sunbathe is about as interesting as watching paint dry. If you've never seen one in the flesh you probably won't believe me but it's true. They just lie there.
Or you could watch Cheyenne in the alligator position:
Really. Come back in 15 minutes and nothing will have changed.