American crocodiles (Crocodylus acutus)
are a shy and reclusive species. They live in coastal areas
throughout the Caribbean, and occur at the northern end of their
range in south Florida. They live in brackish or saltwater areas,
and can be found in ponds, coves, and creeks in mangrove swamps.
They are occasionally being encountered inland in freshwater areas
of the SE Florida coast as a result of the extensive canal
Like alligators, crocodiles are ectothermic, meaning they rely on
external sources of heat to regulate their body temperature.
Crocodiles control their body temperature by basking in the sun, or
moving to areas with warmer or cooler air or water
A basking crocodile may be surprised by an approaching person and
quickly (and noisily) enter the water. This behavior might startle
the person, but it should not be misunderstood. Crocodiles would
normally enter the water quietly; splashing away indicates that the
crocodile is frightened.
Crocodiles can also be seen sunning with their mouths open, or
"gaping." This behavior is also related to regulating their body
temperature, and does not mean that the crocodile is acting
aggressively toward people.
"Living With Crocodile" brochure (pdf 4mb)
Where can I go to observe crocodiles?
More Information on Crocodiles: