Magnets might dissuade crocodiles from settling in neighborhoods

Feb 24, 2009 By Doug Phillips

Magnets taped to the heads of captured crocodiles could keep them from returning to South Florida neighborhoods where they're not wanted, state wildlife officials said Monday.

State biologists are studying the temporary use of magnets to disrupt the internal navigation of federally and state-protected American crocodiles, which have been spotted most often in neighborhoods of Miami-Dade and Monroe counties in Florida.

"Scientists in Mexico have reported success in using magnets to break the homing cycle," said Lindsey Hord, crocodile response coordinator for the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission.

When crocodiles show up where they don't belong, they're typically captured and transported to a suitable habitat as far away as possible, according to commission officials.

"Unfortunately, they usually return," said spokeswoman Gabriella Ferraro.

State biologists say crocodiles that have been relocated will travel an average of 10 miles a week to return to where they were captured.

As part of the study, trappers have been told to attach magnets to sides of the reptile's head where it's captured.

The magnets are supposed to disorient the crocodiles and disrupt their navigation so they can't find their way back.

The magnets are removed from the crocodile's head when it's released, and a colored tag is attached to its tail for later identification in case it returns.

The procedure has been used a few times during the past few weeks, Ferraro said.

Besides protecting crocodiles from vehicles and other hazards that could injure them if they try to return, the magnets could also help keep more of them in the wild.

Generally, if a crocodile returns three times, and under certain other circumstances, it gets placed into captivity.

An estimated 2,000 crocodiles are thought to be in the wild in South Florida.

___

(c) 2009, Sun Sentinel.
Visit the Sun Sentinel on the World Wide Web at www.SunSentinel.com
Distributed by McClatchy-Tribune Information Services.

Explore further: Scientists solve reptile mysteries with landmark study on the evolution of turtles

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

The science of anatomy is undergoing a revival

Apr 10, 2014

Only two decades ago, when I was starting my PhD studies at the University of California in Berkeley, there was talk about the death of anatomy as a research subject. That hasn't happened. Instead the science ...

Overcoming crocodile breeding hazards with AI

Aug 28, 2012

The world's first artificial insemination of crocodiles is one step closer thanks to a novel project between The University of Queensland (UQ) and a central Queensland farmer.

Recommended for you

CPR for South Coast plants

1 hour ago

Department of Parks and Wildlife (DPaW) Flora Conservation Officer Sarah Barrett and FloraTechnical Officer Dylan Lehmann set up a display at this year's Albany Wildflower Exhibition to explain some of the ...

Autopsies from space: who killed the sea lions?

1 hour ago

A decade ago, we set out to unravel deep ocean crime scenes we weren't even sure existed. The crime? Endangered Steller sea lions were rapidly disappearing in parts of Alaska. Their numbers dropped by 80% in three decades, yet only rarely did anyone see or sample dead sea lions. Live sea lions stu ...

User comments : 2

Adjust slider to filter visible comments by rank

Display comments: newest first

deatopmg
5 / 5 (1) Feb 24, 2009
"Generally, if a crocodile returns three times, and under certain other circumstances, it gets placed into captivity."

After three times the pest should be placed in a po-boy bun.
FainAvis
not rated yet Feb 24, 2009
Put a mine there instead. If the thing returns blow its head off.

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.