Crocodile Bites Two in Coral Gables Canal, Makes History

Two local residents are recovering after a crocodile bit them early Sunday morning in Coral Gables.

And now they're famous: "This is the first time that we've ever had a crocodile bite a human being in the United States," Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) spokesman Jorge Pino told the Miami Herald.

According to Pino, the two young people, 26-year-old Alejandro Jimenez and 23-year-old Lisset Rendon, were at a Saturday-night party in the Gables when, between 2 and 3 in the morning, they decided to go for a dip in a nearby canal. Bad move.

"Our understanding is that they were jumping in and out of the water," Pino told the Herald. "Perhaps that attracted the attention of the crocodile."

The croc, believed to be at least nine feet long, first bit Rendon's shoulder, the spokesman said. She was able to make her way back to the dock, but then the beast also bit Jimenez's shoulder and hand.

Their injuries are not life-threatening, although as of Monday night, the Herald reported, Jimenez was still hospitalized.

CBS 4 reported that after the attack, authorities handed out educational pamphlets advising locals against swimming at night in canals -- and that a crocodile expert, hired by the FWC, spent much of Monday evening perched on a canal dock trying to hook crocs and remove them.

"We cast out to the swimming crocodile and we hook him in his hide," Todd Hardwick, the expert, told the station. "It doesn't even draw blood."

Hardwick spent much of his time grappling with an 11-footer, the station reported, but the animal eventually got away. Though alligators are common in Florida freshwater lakes and rivers, crocodiles, according to the National Park Service website, are "rare and secretive creatures" that live only in saltwater and brackish environments -- like Miami-area intracoastal canals. So no more midnight canal dips, folks.

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Trevor Bach

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