Zoo Crocodile Escapes Transport Van, Runs Across Florida Highway
A naughty crocodile went for a joy run Tuesday when he escaped from a transport van and fled on foot across a busy highway.
Zoo personnel from the St. Augustine Alligator Farm Zoological Park in Florida were making the last run of the day transporting crocodilian species to a new zoo habitat, when a particularly active croc made a run for it.
General curator Gen Anderson said she and reptile keeper Karsyn McCreedy were taking a quick trip up the road with four crocodilian species in the back of their van when the unexpected incident took place.
"I was driving, and Karsyn was riding passenger," Gen told Southern Living. "Part of our protocol any time we transport animals is to make sure we have the proper capture equipment just in case. We don't usually use it, but we always have it."
While Gen drove, Karsyn was keeping an eye on the animals, relaying to Gen what they were doing. The road, in a tourist town near the beach, was fairly busy, so they were driving about half of the 40-mile-per-hour speed limit. That's when the culprit made his exit. The energetic croc crawled to the back of the van, and next thing the women knew, he had popped out the van's back window and climbed out onto the road.
"I have this vision burned in my mind now of looking quickly out the rearview mirror and seeing his back half go bloop out the window," Gen remembers. "It was a little shocking."
Karsyn immediately jumped out of the vehicle to capture the croc, while Gen called nearby zookeepers for help. She said by the time she got out of the van, Karsyn had successfully gotten capture equipment around the crocodile, but was unable to fully restrain him due to his size.
"I grabbed the pole with her to give him a pull so he would stop walking for a sec," she said. "He crawled over onto the grass median, and I was able to jump on him at that point."
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Once backup arrived, the group was able to restrain the croc and safely deliver him to his new home. In a Facebook post detailing the bizarre event, the zoo clarified that the crocodile's mouth was secured for the transport, so no one was ever in any danger. The crocodile himself was lucky that oncoming cars were able to stop in time to take in the show from a safe distance. Thanks so spectator Jessica Stark, we have a video documenting the croc's dash into traffic.
Now that gives new meaning to the term rush hour!