The American crocodile (Crocodylus actus) historically has ranged from Lake Worth, on Floridas lower East Coast, southward around the peninsula and up to Charlotte Harbor including the Florida Keys. Today they can be found from southern Biscayne Bay, west along the mainland, and south along Key Largo. Preferred habitats are coastal mangrove swamps, salt and brackish water bays, and creeks. The primary nest sites in Florida Bay are in the edge of hardwood thickets, at the heads of small sand beaches, or on relatively high marl banks of narrow coastal creeks. The crocodile is the dominant carnivore in these habitats and is presumed to play an important role in nutrient cycling and ecosystem dynamics. Past exploitation and habitat loss have resulted in a decline in the numbers of crocodiles. The crocodile is currently listed as endangered on both federal and state lists.
[Endangered Species][NEXT: Florida Panther]