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Wildlife photographer captures shot of ‘Croczilla’ in Everglades

A wildlife photographer in Florida discovered one of the Everglades’ most famous residents -- “Croczilla,” a 14-foot American crocodile.

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Kym Clark posted a video of the huge reptile on her Instagram account earlier this month. She wrote that Croczilla is believed to be the largest crocodile in Everglades National Park and possibly the largest in the state.

“This Croc has been on my herping (reptile searching) bucket list for awhile now,” Clark wrote. “So excited to have finally met him!!!”

The crocodile was spotted at Nine Mile Pond in the national park located in South Florida, according to Field & Stream. The reptile’s length is the maximum for its species, according to the National Park Service.

“There he was right there on the shoreline looking right at me. He almost didn’t look real. He was huge,” Clark told Field & Stream. “I couldn’t pull myself away. It was so interesting, and I knew it was probably a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.”

Clark told the Miami Herald that she almost missed seeing the crocodile. She said she was preparing to leave the area and decided to look back one more time. She saw Croczilla sunning himself.

“I was shocked to see the infamous Croczilla, not at a distance but immediately in front of me on the shore, basking in the sun,” Clark told the newspaper. “It almost didn’t look real.”

South Florida is the only place where American crocodiles and American alligators are known to coexist, Field & Stream reported. According to the Florida Fish & Wildlife Commission, the American crocodile is “an endangered species success story.” Their numbers have risen from fewer than 300 in 1975 to more than 2,000 adult crocodiles according to the agency.

“As a Floridian, I see alligators all the time. They are very common, but crocodiles are not so common,” Clark told Field & Stream. “You can only see them in the southernmost part of Florida. And in fact, the only place I’ve ever spotted crocodiles was at Everglades National Park.”

Clark kept a safe distance, taking photographs from about 20 feet away, according to the Herald.

“He was very docile and loved the camera,” Clark wrote in one of her Instagram posts, according to the newspaper. “That being said, always keep a safe distance from crocodiles and other wildlife.”