Pulling the crocodile — which, wildlife officials said, measured 10 feet long — from the pool onto the surrounding deck was particularly challenging.
“We now have a slippery pool deck here,” Todd Hardwick, the trapper tasked with collecting the animal from the property, can be heard telling a colleague and a law enforcement officer in the video that Pesky Critters shared to its Facebook page on Sunday.
Hardwick was able to “secure” the crocodile with help from an assistant trapper, Jeff Peterla. The pair heaved the reptile into the pool deck and restrained it before they dragged it along the backyard patio with the help of a Monroe County officer. They ultimately moved the crocodile to another location near open water, removed its restraints and released it back into the wild.
American crocodiles are one of two crocodile species seen in the United States, and they are only found in South Florida, according to the National Park Service. Different from the more common American alligator, which lives in various habitats throughout the southeastern U.S., these crocodiles are protected as a threatened animal species under the Federal Endangered Species Act.
The crocodile can be distinguished from an alligator based on a handful of defining physical features, including its lizard-like shape and long, muscular tail, as well as its four relatively short legs, which have five toes on the front feet and four toes on the back feet, according to its profile on the NPS website. The crocodile’s snout is triangular, and a single tooth is visible on each side of its lower jaw, even when the mouth is closed.
Male crocodiles can reach about 20 feet in length at their largest, but wildlife officials say they usually do not grow to be longer than 14 feet in the wild. Female crocodiles are smaller, ranging from about eight feet to 12 feet in length.