What Eats People, Part 7: Alligators and Crocodiles

You may be surprised to learn that two dangerous crocodilians occur in the US.

First, and better known, the American alligator (Alligator mississippiensis). It's not especially dangerous as crocodilians go, but it dispatches a person once every three years or so.

Then there's the American Crocodile (Crocodylus acutus), which can reach 20 feet in length. It lives in Central and South America, the Caribbean, and, in small numbers, a bit of Florida. It has a reputation for aggression. In 1999, a 70-year-old woman fishing from a bank of the Black River in Jamaica was taken by an American crocodile. Other fishermen rescued her, but they were too late to save her life. In 2002, an accused murderer escaped prison in Panama and fled to Costa Rica. News reports claimed he tried to return to Panama by swimming the River Terraba, but was killed and eaten by a crocodile. In 2007, an American crocodile took a five-year-old boy from the bank of the Tomatlan River in Mexico.



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