Published: November 2009

King Crocs

Croc World

When Crocs Ruled

The reptiles were once on top of the world. Why did they fall?

By Mel White
Photograph by Bruno Calendini, Biosphoto

In the summer of 2008 an American crocodile left Florida's Biscayne Bay, swam along a yacht-lined canal through the upscale neighborhood of Coral Gables, and took up residence on the campus of the University of Miami, where it occasionally interrupted its sunbathing on the banks of Lake Osceola to munch on a turtle. The snaggletoothed croc was a daily reminder to students that they'd chosen a school in sunny, subtropical Florida and not in, say, Iowa.

This wasn't the first crocodile to appear on cam­pus, but it became the most famous. People took to calling it Donna, after university president and former Cabinet member Donna Shalala—­this despite the fact that it turned out to be a male. Donna occasionally basked on the grass just yards from the university pub, prompt­ing the relocation of a few picnic tables but causing no further disruption.

Continue »
email a friend iconprinter friendly icon   |