Expedition Journal

January 23, 1996
Hunting Crocodiles at Night

We went out today on another crocodile hunt. In the morning we packed all our gear (from dinner and snacks to nooses and scales). We got our trip underway about 3:00pm and headed out to Davis Creek. We waded out to an island. What a mess! The water was about two feet deep and the bottom was muddy, sludgy and gross. We had to wear jeans because of the mosquitos and brush on the island, so we were quite a sight! We trudged through the mangroves to get to a crocodile nest that hadn't hatched this year. It probably got flooded since it was so close to the creek.

When we got to the nest site, we dug around until we found the eggs. When we uncovered the nest, the stench was overpowering. We dug out as many as we could find, there were 39 total. The crocodile eggs are about the size of goose eggs. When we finished burying them again, we checked our location using the GPS (Global Positioning System) to plot our location.

After our muddy hike back to the boats, we waited for it to get dark so we could start the actual hunt. We split into two croc hunting teams and started looking. We roamed around Joe Bay flashing lights to reflect on the croc's eyes. We swung the light over and we saw two sets of eyes! It was really neat because the eyes reflected red light. It was just like a bicycle reflector. When we tried to slip the noose over the croc's head, the noose didn't quite catch and we almost lost her. Luckily the noose caught on its skull plate, and we managed to catch her and pull her up into the boat.

We helped the scientists to measure her and she was about 200 cm and 34 kg! We estimate that she is anywhere from 12-15 years old. She was unmarked, so we had to cut her scutes to identify her. From now on, she is known as Everglades 773. Now she will hopefully be recaptured later and can be tracked and remeasured.

The Croc Team:
Emily Hudson
Danielle Nettesheim
Rebecca Somers

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Gene Carl Feldman (gene@seawifs.gsfc.nasa.gov) (301) 286-9428
Todd Carlo Viola, JASON Foundation for Education (todd@jason.org)
Revised: 24 Jan 1996