The American crocodile is primarily a coastal species that ranges from Mexico, Central and South America, the Caribbean and even into South Florida. They are typically a gray/green color and can be found in the fresh/brackish/salt water of river estuaries, coastal lagoons and mangrove swamps where they feed on fish, crustaceans, small mammals, reptiles and birds.
Throughout much of its range, the American crocodile was listed as endangered. FPL partners with federal and state conservation agencies to help with crocodile restoration efforts, resulting in the species being downlisted to threatened status. At our Turkey Point Power Plant in southern Miami-Dade County, we have worked for years to help this species rebound. In fact, the 2021 American crocodile nesting season at the plant resulted in a record-setting 565 hatchlings, establishing a historic success in FPL’s management of the local crocodile population. This work includes:
Our 6,000 acres of protected land has 168 linear miles of cooling canals that happen to be ideal crocodile habitat. The cooling canal system offers optimum nesting, breeding and basking habitat for crocodiles. The system represents one of three primary nesting populations in the U.S. FPL conducts a growth and survival study three times a year by capturing crocodiles within the system and collecting data.
Mutual of Omaha’s Wild Kingdom, a popular nature TV show, visited FPL’s Turkey Point for an episode about its thriving American crocodile program.
About nine-tenths of the Turkey Point property remains in its natural state of mangroves and freshwater wetlands. There are more than 60 known species of birds and animals that inhabit the property.
In 1979, the majority of the site was designated critical habitat for the American crocodile. The system represents one of three primary nesting populations in the U.S. FPL conducts a growth and survival study three times a year by capturing crocodiles within the system.
The American crocodile’s breeding season runs from mid-February through mid-April. Females can lay between 30 and 50 eggs, which they monitor during the 90 days of incubation. Like some other reptiles, the gender of hatchlings is determined by nesting temperature. Hatchlings emerge from their nests between late June and early August. The mother scoops hatchlings up in her mouth and carries them to the water. There is generally minimal parental care once the young crocs are transported to the water. Nesting and hatchling surveys are conducted from April to August.