A rarely seen American alligator has has been documented in Central Floridaand counts as one of the northernmost sightings ever reported.
The alligator was seen on Sunday, December 4, in Brevard County, about 75 miles southeast of Orlando.
It was reported by the Brevard County Environmentally Endangered Lands Program, which called the encounter a “rare sighting” this far north.
“American crocodiles typically live in coastal areas of the Caribbean, with southern Florida being in the far north of their range,” the show posted Dec. 5 on Facebook.
The 8-foot reptile was found “relaxing on the beach in front of the center of the barrier island” on Melbourne Beach, authorities said.
Eight feet is considered a young alligator. Males can reach up to 20 feet, “but they rarely exceed 14 feet in the wild,” according to Everglades National Park.
The sighting occurs a month later. Tiara Alessandra Weethee of Sebastian, Florida, shared video of another unexpected encounter with an alligator, just 25 miles south in Indian River County.
social media commenters, including Weethee, I wondered if it’s the same crocodile heading north. The one he recorded was about the same length and was also seen on a beach.
The latest sighting has received hundreds of reactions and comments on social media, including some who joked that it was a pet that got loose. Others saw it as proof that crocodiles are extending its range.
“Oh great, another thing to worry about” Ciro A. Morales wrote on Facebook. “This area is too far north for these saltwater swimming beasts. … I hope this crocodile is just another ‘snowbird’ staying for the holidays.”
Only 1,500 to 2,000 adult American crocodiles survive in the brackish swamps of South Florida, the state says. The southern tip of Brevard County is believed to be the furthest north the species has been documented, maps show.
Florida is home to crocodiles and alligators, and it’s usually the alligators that show up on public beaches. However, alligators have a preference for fresh waterAnd don’t stay long, experts say.