Crocodile census causes alarm in Puerto Rico

By ASSOCIATED PRESS
October 13, 2010 22:37

 
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SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico — Invasive crocodiles are making themselves at home in the densely populated Puerto Rican capital and pose a potential threat to humans and pets, researchers said Wednesday.

The new study by the San Juan Bay Estuary Program does not estimate the reptiles' total population, but investigators spotted a dozen in one place on a recent night and there have been hundreds of reported sightings.

The crocodiles are believed to be the descendants of pets brought to the island in the 1960s and are now flourishing in the estuary, which is surrounded by more than 500,000 people.

Most common is the spectacled caiman, a native of Central and South America that can grow to more than 6 feet (2 meters).

There have been no known attacks on humans.

However, the crocs are devouring native birds and fish, Estuary Program project director Javier Laureano said. He plans to meet with government officials to develop an eradication plan.

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