News Releases

Crocodile likely not responsible for kayakers’ injuries

News Release

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Media contact: Gabriella B. Ferraro, 772-215-9459;
Officer Robert Dube, 305-684-8703

After investigating a report of a human-crocodile encounter, officers and biologists with the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) believe it is highly unlikely that an American crocodile was responsible for injuring two kayakers during an early morning trip in Sexton Cove, near Key Largo, last month. The FWC cannot determine what the kayakers encountered.

The FWC found no indication of a multiple-tooth bite pattern characteristic of an alligator or crocodile bite, and the scratches were not consistent with either a bite or the number of toenails on either alligator or crocodile feet. It is possible, however, that a large alligator or crocodile overturned the kayak in an attempt to flee, but no animal was reported seen. 

The kayakers reported hitting something in the water and overturning. While in the water, something brushed against them, they said. They did not see an animal and initially thought they may have been brushed by a manatee.  

Shy and reclusive, American crocodiles are an endangered species success story. Since 1975, their numbers have increased from fewer than 300 to more than 1,500 adults. Today, they are classified as a threatened species.

As the crocodile population has grown, the number of complaints about them has risen. Conflicts between crocodiles and humans, however, are still very rare. Because crocodiles grow large, people must use caution when near them or recreating in areas where they are found.

For more information about living with crocodiles, visit

FWC Facts:
A crocodile cannot stick its tongue out.

Learn More at AskFWC