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Crocs Uncovered!

An ocean sunfish is an unusual looking creature. Internet image.

Investigating an additional report of a pair of crocodiles swimming off Seven Mile Beach, a Department of Environment (DoE) official found two large sunfish offshore of the Governor's residence today.

"After receiving a call this morning about another crocodile sighting on Seven Mile Beach, Chief Conservation Officer Mark Orr immediately checked out the details. However, on entering the water, he found two sunfish," said DoE Director Gina Ebanks-Petrie.

"A previous report of a crocodile in July this year off Seven Mile Beach was also later confirmed as a sunfish," she said.

"Our officers will continue to investigate reported sightings of a crocodile in the vicinity of the Sundowner and White Sands condominiums as crocodiles do occasionally appear in the waters off the Cayman Islands," she confirmed.

"Two types of crocodiles are naturally found in the north-western Caribbean, namely the American and Cuban crocodile.

The American crocodile (Crocodylus acutus) has a wide range and can be found in Cuba, Jamaica, Mexico and the Southern States.

The Cuban crocodile (Crocodylus rhombifer) is only found in south-western Cuba. However, skeletal remains found locally indicate that historically both species were naturally present in the Cayman Islands.

"Many crocodiles have a 'wandering' phase, in which young animals range far and wide in search of new habitat. The Cayman Islands falls within the natural range of both these species, therefore we should not be surprised at an occasional appearance off our shores," Mrs. Ebanks-Petrie explained.

In Florida, some 500-1,200 American crocodiles thrive in the wild. To date there have been no recorded attacks by this species on humans in the United States where they are a protected species. In other countries, in most cases, when attacks by American Crocodiles do occur, the attack is directed towards a person who is trying to catch or harass the crocodile.

"For this reason, the DoE is adhering to the Florida Guidelines for dealing with American crocodiles. These recommend that when wandering individuals are located, they be left alone and not harassed. In most cases, they do move on, naturally and of their own accord," she said.

The American crocodile is different from the American alligator which is larger and has an estimated population of 1-1.5 million in Florida alone. They are also very different from the large crocodiles found in Australia and Africa.

(GIS)

For further information contact: Cornelia Oliver