Florida crocs go magnetic – fly fishing world sniffs opportunity

Crocodile magnetFrom the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission :

Crocodile-human interactions have increased as the crocodile population has recovered. One technique to resolve these conflicts is translocation. This involves capturing the crocodile and moving it to suitable crocodile habitat as far away as possible, in an attempt to keep it away from an area. However, translocation is seldom effective. FWC biologists have found that translocated crocodiles will travel an average of 10 miles per week to return to their capture site, in a practice called “homing.” Others never make it because they are hit and killed by vehicles as they cross roads. Some may be killed by other crocodiles at the release site or during their journey back.

In an effort to break the “homing” cycle, FWC biologists have initiated a new study. Crocodile agents have been instructed to attach magnets to both sides of the crocodile’s head at the capture site. It is hoped the magnets will disorient the crocodiles and disrupt their navigation, so they can’t find their way back to the capture site. The magnets are removed from the crocodile’s head upon release. Agents will also secure a colored tag to the crocodile’s tail, so returning crocodiles can be identified later.

The reality is there is always some kind of toothy creature problem threatening the otherwise mundane lives of South Floridians – if it’s not the crocs, it’s the alligators, or snakes, or the sea trout (they are not actually a problem, unless you are low on flies). This is just one more example of the government not telling you like it is, as this intrepid reporter found out when he buzzed Flip Pallot for a statement:

No comment. But Gracie, you are a fine American.*

Something strange is afoot at the Circle K, and since fly fishers are the most grounded in the true nature of all things conspiratorial, I’m betting they smell a tourist trap. If you start seeing local fly guides advertising ‘Florida’s Ultimate Brownlining Adventure’ you’ll know they are working on a grant program.

Meanwhile, someone please send Pete McDonald some titanium hooks – he spends way too much time in those backwater canals for his own good. (h/t Slashdot)

Editor’s note: Half the quote from Flip Pallot was in fact taken from real life circumstances. While fishing Indian River, we bumped into him right after he’d been busted for speeding in a new Hell’s Bay skiff during a promotional shoot. Back at the takeout his trailer winch went on the fritz (guess it wasn’t his day), and we provided the tools to get ‘er back in business. Hence, we were deemed “fine Americans.”

And if that constitutes my fifteen minutes, I’m in deep trouble. Need. Better. Fishing. Stories!

Comments

That is kind of weird since crocodiles are really confined to the very southern tip of Florida, mostly Florida Bay. It’s not like you’re going to run into a crocodile in Orlando. Plus crocs are fairly shy compared to gators. I think you’re in more danger merging from the on ramp onto I-95. Despite the fact that it’s flat and the roads are mostly straight, Florida has the absolute worst drivers anywhere.

I think you got that backwards, crocs are more aggressive than gators.

But I think that strapping direction confusing magnets to the domes might be a bad idea…. Instead of wondering from one pond to another, they might be more inclined to end up in your pool. Just sayin.

No man, the Florida crocs ain’t. I went out with scientists as part of a tagging expedition in Florida Bay a few years back and we lassoed one and brought it on the boat. The scientists said the Florida crocs are pretty people shy as opposed to gators, which–at least when I lived there–were known to climb chain link fences to get after the family pets.

Either way, I wouldn’t want to see either one in my backyard.

Fat guys are true men, but I’m calling this one for Pete. Crocs are pretty spooky critters (at least in Florida) – they favor brackish outposts and hate anything that isn’t bath warm. They’ve been known to congregate around the Turkey Point power plant in swarms – the hot water output from the cooling plants warms their environs.

I’ve only seen one in the wild US-wise, in the mangroves out of Flamingo.

Crocs in Australia are another story altogether. Warning pic here.