FPL Biologist Jodie Gless

Monday night

The first of three nights of captures that will allow us to assess the growth and survival of crocodiles within the cooling canal system.

Airboats with both FPL and UF-IFAS personnel set out on the system. Between the two boats, all of the ponds usually inhabited by yearling crocodiles were checked. Most weren't holding water, so there weren't any crocodiles to be found. Pretty disappointing! However, both boats came together on B12SXN4 and successfully captured and worked up eight yearling crocodiles. For the captures, we used a self-locking snare, tongs, or, if smaller than one meter, hand grabbed. For all captured crocodiles, we measured head length, snout-vent length, total length, tail girth, mass, and when possible sex was determined.

Recaptures of crocodiles with a distinct scute clip pattern or microchip were noted on the data sheets. If an animal had not been previously marked, a microchip was implanted and the crocodile was given a distinct scute clip pattern. Capture location was recorded using a GPS, along with air temperature, water temperature, salinity and capture time. After this last pond was surveyed, the boats traveled up to Section 1 to look for more crocodiles. Several crocodiles were captured and worked up on the airboats before the night ended.

Tuesday night

Since capture events are organized to cover as much of the system as possible, we are covering a different third of the system tonight. The biologists continued to survey the cooling canal system in Sections 2 through 5 using the airboats. Since the capture event was taking place during the nesting season, we were only allowed to capture crocodiles less than 2.0 meters in length. A crocodile larger than 2.0 meters could have been a nesting female. The risk in capturing a nesting crocodile is that she may become stressed and abandon her nest. The same three capture methods and data sheets were used on all of the crocodiles captured. Over the three night event, a total of 65 crocodiles were captured. This was the largest number of crocodiles captured since the events started in January 2009.

Wednesday night

Thought we concentrate our efforts in the areas where crocodiles are known to be present, tonight we are canvassing the section where the most and largest crocs tend to gather. The biologists continued to survey the cooling canal system in Sections 2 through 5 using the airboats. Since the capture event was taking place during the nesting season, we were only allowed to capture crocodiles less than 2.0 meters in length. A crocodile larger than 2.0 meters could have been a nesting female. The risk in capturing a nesting crocodile is that she may become stressed and abandon her nest. The same three capture methods and data sheets were used on all of the crocodiles captured.

Recap

Over the three night event, a total of 65 crocodiles were captured. This was the largest number of crocodiles captured since the events started in January 2009.

View image gallery