Expedition Journal

January 22, 1996
Learning about Crocodiles

Today was the first day in the field. Dr.Ballard came and rode with us to the Ranger Station. When we were at the Ranger Station we helped load the boat, before looking at a crocodile. The crocodile was to show us stuff like what the crocodile looked like compared to alligators, how the crocodiles are tagged (they clip the scutes on their tails), and how to hold them. We named the crocodile Jason. We also learned about where we will be. Since it is a Crocodile Sanctuary, you can not enter unless you have the permit. We are very lucky to be a part of this project.

We also got our first major dose of production today. The entire production crew met us at the Ranger Station. They took a lot of footage of us preparing for and on the crocodile hunt. We did some things a couple times so they could get shots from different angles.

When we were at Trout Cove Island we saw a nest from this summer. There were a few pieces of the leathery inner membrane of the crocodile eggs. The eggs are about the size of a goose egg. There are about 40 in each nest. There are about 15 known nesting sites. The sites are cleared after each hatching, so we can tell when new nests have been found.

The actual crocodile hunt began after the sunset. We divided into three groups. The production, the argo boat, and the croc boat. The croc boat had a minor overheating problem so we decided to leave the site early to avoid more problems. On the way back, we spotted a croc! It was caught by Laura Brandt and Frank Mazzotti, our two croc scientists. The crocodile we caught had been tagged, which means he was caught before. He was 1.5 kg and 76.9 cm. By his markings we could tell he was tagged in Everglades National Park and was number 653. Seeing and catching a wild crocodile was so exciting! We wrote down everything in our journals and took rolls of film.

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: 23 Jan 1996