Rare crocodile spotted in St. Petersburg | News
St. Petersburg, Florida -- When Shondra Farner walked out her back door this past weekend, she could hardly believe what she was seeing.
"When he spotted me, he sort of swam towards me," she said, pointing to the five-acre lake behind her St. Petersburg home.
Shondra says her community is no stranger to wildlife spotting. In fact, she and her husband Tom have snapped photos all sorts of critters, from otters to egrets.
"Last year I was able to take pictures of some beautiful white pelicans, which is a real rarity, too," she says.
But this past Saturday, the Farners came face to face with the gaping jaws of an eight-foot American Crocodile.
"His eyes are set differently, but his tail is the giveaway, because they have these very high peaks on the tail," said Shondra.
The couple can definitely recognize their reptiles. The Farners recently took a trip to Costa Rica, where they saw some very large crocodiles, and knew that what was sitting on their back lawn was no alligator.
"We saw some of the real giant ones that are 15, 20 feet long," said Shondra.
The menacing meat-eater behind their home was still visible Thursday, floating in the lake.
It's been maybe 20 years, say wildlife officials, since they've seen a crocodile migrate this far north. The reptile is one of only about 1,500 known to exist in Florida.
Its snout is distinctively more slender than that of a Florida alligator.
"You know an endangered species... to have it in your back yard is absolutely amazing," says Shondra.
In the meantime, neighbors say it's interesting, but unsettling. That's in part, because crocs also differentiate themselves from gators by looking upon human beings as a potential meal.
And based on the wide open mouth pictures Shondra says she was able to capture, this one may be hungry.
"You don't see alligators with mouth wide open like that."
FWC has set a trap at the edge of the lake, hoping to capture and relocate the threatened thrasher. The animal cannot be killed, because it is an endangered species.