Trappers continue searching for crocodile that attacked 2 people in Coral Gables canal

Crocodile believed to be 11-12 feet long

By Amanda Batchelor - Senior Digital Editor , Roger Lohse

CORAL GABLES, Fla. - Trappers are still searching for the large crocodile that attacked two people in a Coral Gables canal Sunday morning.

Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission officials said they are searching for two crocodiles, believed to be 11-12 feet long, in the canal in the 1300 block of Lugo Avenue.

Only one of the reptiles is accused of attacking Alejandro Jimenez, 26, and Lisset Rendon, 23, but authorities want both crocodiles removed from the canal as a safety precaution.

On Monday evening, a trapper captured one of the crocodiles, but after struggling with it for about 20 minutes, it broke free from the trapper's line.

Jimenez remains in the hospital with injuries to his hand and torso. Authorities said Rendon was treated at the scene and was not taken to the hospital.

Authorities said the pair ignored the warning signs in the community when they jumped into the canal, and that these waters are a sanctuary for the federally protected species.

"Common sense has to prevail," said Jorge Pino of FWC. "We're the humans. We're the smart ones, and we're the ones who are supposed to think before we act. And in this particular case, they were the ones who put themselves in harms way."

FWC officials said it is extremely hard to catch the reptiles since they are most active from dusk to dawn.

"They're very shy, reclusive animals to begin with and now that we've introduced this scenario and neighbors that are looking – it's very tough to catch them now," said Pino.

The crocs have called these canals home for nearly a decade. Neighbors have even named them Pancho and Snaggletooth.

When trappers finally track them down, the reptiles will be moved a wildlife sanctuary. But residents are torn on whether they should be removed at all.

"We've been warning about the crocodile situation for a number of years now. It's a little disturbing," said Walter Lista, who wants the crocodiles removed from the canal.

"I think they were standing their ground," said Elizabeth Bustin, who does not want the crocodiles to be removed. "That was their territory. Somebody came into it unexpectedly. They didn't go for the throat, they didn't tear a limb off, they bit. If you want to go swimming at 2 a.m., go swimming in a pool, not the canal."

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