We're having our annual taste of 'winter' — tempertures got down below 60 last night. This seems to bother natives, not least UM's crocodile, who surfaced for some sun … leading to his undoing: Elusive UM croc seeks sun, gets caught.
Amusingly, UM students had nicknamed the croc “Donna” — after Donna Shalala, presumably.
The campus has been crawling with reporters and TV cameras every time they thought Donna was about to be caught. The media presence wasn't as bad as during the debates, but it was still pretty large. And the cameras seemed to like to linger on cute students…
Even the staid Miami Herald has had fun with this one:
The unwelcome croc eventually had his snout taped shut and was carted away from campus, past students sunbathing by UM's pool.
Although there had been sporadic sightings of a croc on campus since February, in recent weeks the croc seemed to have taken up permanent residence. University officials felt that for safety, it needed to be caught and relocated.
“We're part of the Gables waterway, and that's how he's been coming in and out of the lakes,” said Margot Winick, a UM spokeswoman.
Hardwick had tried in vain several times to capture the croc, who dove deep into the the lake for long stretches to avoid trappers.
The American crocodile, while generally more docile than its more prevalent cousin, the American alligator, is much more difficult to catch — partly because it has endangered status, which makes it illegal to injure or kill one, Hardwick said.
There are 600 to 1,000 American adult crocs in Florida, and nearly 1.4 million alligators. “When the croc perceives a threat, he'll go to the bottom of a lake and stay there for two hours,” he said. “An alligator spends more time on the surface.”
The croc will be relocated to the Southern Glades Wildlife Management Area near the Miami-Dade and Monroe county line. But Hardwick predicted the croc would return within six months.
“It's a beautiful campus. Who wouldn't want to stay here?” Hardwick said. “He felt OK here when he found out only Gators were banned.”