POMPANO BEACH, Fla. — Lifeguards at a South Florida beach were startled on Monday to see a crocodile swimming and lounging underneath a pier.
Crews working for the city of Pompano Beach began their shift at about 8 a.m. EDT with a morning run and a swim near the Fisher Family Pier, the Sun-Sentinel reported.
One of the lifeguards was running late and lagged behind his colleague in the water, city spokesperson Sandra King told the newspaper. As the tardy lifeguard headed to shore, a woman on the pier alerted him to crocodile, who had begun swimming toward him.
“It was swimming toward him as he was getting out of the water,” the woman told the Sun-Sentinel.
The lifeguards then posted “no swimming” flags and ordered swimmers out of the Atlantic Ocean, the newspaper reported.
City officials contacted the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, who sent an officer and “determined to let it be,” King told the Sun-Sentinel.
King added that the crocodile is tagged. While swimmers were not allowed in the water on Monday, the croc spent much of the morning enjoying the shade under the pier.
According to the FWC website, American crocodiles are “a shy and reclusive species.” The reptiles live in coastal areas in brackish or saltwater areas and can be found in ponds, coves and creeks in mangrove swamps.
According to the FWC, the American crocodile is protected as a threatened species by the Federal Endangered Species Act and as a Federally designated threatened species by Florida’s Endangered and Threatened Species Rule.
Pompano Beach is located 35 miles north of Miami.