Alligator or crocodile?
That’s what some curious social media users were asking themselves after @LifestyleMiami reposted a video of a large, scaly, ominous-looking reptile casually swimming in Biscayne Bay in downtown Miami on Tuesday.
The post originated from local runner with the handle @runadic. He asked the question, “What is this?
“A crocodile in frickin’ Brickell, swimming,” says a man off camera incredulously in the short clip, shot at 1198 Brickell Bay Dr. “Or is it an alligator?”
Lifestyle’s caption pegged the creature as a saltwater crocodile. “I have now seen it all. Send this to all your friends! Saltwater croc. This big fella spent his day swimming in Brickell Bay Drive all day today! Careful falling off the jet skis around there.”
According to the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, it can be difficult for average folks (especially non-Floridians) to spot the differences between an American crocodile and American alligator.
A general, simple rule of thumb: Crocs are grayish green in color and have a narrow, tapered snout like the letter “V.” Adult gators are usually black in color and have broader, rounded snouts like the letter “U.” Young gators are usually dark with yellow stripes.
Even animal expert Ron Magill of Zoo Miami had trouble identifying what was out there.
“It is very difficult to say from the video because it’s just a dark shadow without any closeups,” Magill told the Miami Herald. “Generally speaking, it’s not uncommon to see crocodiles in saltwater as they prefer saltwater or brackish water, as opposed to alligators, which are found in fresh water.”
But after close inspection, and observing the animal’s dark coloring, Magill was led to believe the big guy is an alligator.
Add to that: It looks to be having problems staying afloat.
“It seems to be having an issue keeping its body underwater (not used to the saltwater buoyancy) which leads me to believe that this could very possibly be an alligator that took a wrong turn and ended up in the bay,” he said.
Some commenters were able to see the humor in the situation.
“Lochness Monster migrated to Brickell Key,” wrote one.
“I live in freaking Germany and even I know you don’t go swimming in Florida,” wrote another.
“Omg!!!!!! So miami lol,” summed up yet another poster.