Two people were attacked by a crocodile in a Coral Gables canal early Sunday morning. The victims, Alejandro Jimenez and Lisset Rendon, were jumping in the canal around 2 a.m. while partying at a friend’s home in the 1300 block of Lugo Avenue. Before they realized what was happening, the croc which was described between eight and nine feet long, attacked. The couple made it out safely with help from other people at the party. They were transported to and treated at South Miami Hospital where they were later released.
The City of Coral Gables is located southwest of Downtown Miami in Miami-Dade County, Florida and is home to the University of Miami. It is one of the first planned communities in the United States and is a beautiful city featuring lush green avenues with Mediterranean Revival architectural style. Along with the many outdoor attractions and parks, its year-round sun makes this the perfect place for a vacation or simple relaxation.
Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) officials said there are three crocs in the canal but they have had difficulty locating them. Residents of area said although they have never heard of the crocs attacking humans before, they knew it was just a matter of time before one of the crocodiles bit someone. Residents have known dogs to go missing around the canal but not people. They were very surprised that anyone would go into the canal at night because that is the time the crocs like to feed.
Sightings of crocodiles are pretty common in Coral Gables which has signs posted around the area warning people against feeding or harassing the crocs. According to the FWC’s website,
There has never been a documented bite on a person by an American crocodile in Florida. Unleashed pets are at some risk from crocodiles, but pets are always at risk near the water because of the more likely presence of alligators.
Spokeswoman Kelly Denham said, “Around 2:30 a.m. Coral Gables police responded to an animal bite.” She continued, “Police made calls to the residents and went door to door on Monday handing out guides on living with crocodiles.” These needed to be passed out because the crocs were there long before the houses were built, according to Denham.
The FWC said crocs have a protected status in the state and when they locate them they will be moved to a wildlife sanctuary. American crocodiles can be found in coves, ponds and creeks in mangrove swamps. They live in brackish or saltwater areas within many coastal regions throughout Southern Florida and the Caribbean.
Gonzalo Sanabria, a veteran boater, said he has been there since 1999 and, other than a dog being taken, has never had a problem. He added,
Crocodiles are very shy when it comes to people. This story of an attack by a crocodile is hard to believe. I don’t see the point of going into a canal like this and have never heard of anyone jumping into a canal, ever. It makes no sense. It is a habitat for crocodiles.
Officials have confirmed both victims were visiting and as a result may not have been aware that crocodiles were in the canal. Jorge Pino, a spokesman for the FWC, said the victims, which have been identified as Alejandro Jimenez, 26, of Doral and Lisset Rendon, 23, of Miami received non-life threatening injuries from the crocodile attack and were treated and released.
By: Cherese Jackson (Virginia)
Keys Info Net