Man-Eating Nile Crocodiles Found in Florida

iStock/Thinkstock(MIAMI) — Florida can now add man-eating crocs to its growing list of invasive species. Researchers from the University of Florida have confirmed that three Nile crocodiles were captured near Miami, and there may be more out there in the wild.

University of Florida herpetologist Kenneth Krysko and his co-authors recently published a paper revealing that DNA testing from three crocs captured in 2009, 2011 and 2014 proves they are Nile crocodiles, a species native to sub-Saharan Africa and parts of the southern Mediterranean coast that can grow over 16 feet long and weigh more than 1,600 pounds.

It’s also known to prey upon humans, among other animals. Researchers estimate that Nile crocs kill up to 200 people each year worldwide.

DNA testing showed the captured reptiles matched genetically, but they didn’t match the Nile crocodiles kept at Disney’s Animal Kingdom and other licensed attractions in Florida, which suggests these killer crocs were likely brought to the Sunshine State illegally. All three were captured in South Florida, with one found in the Everglades National Park, confirming that the non-native species can thrive in the Florida wetlands and perhaps beyond.

“Much of the Atlantic and Gulf coasts could provide similar climatic conditions,” Kyrsko and his co-authors wrote in the paper.

Florida has two native crocodilians: the American alligator and American crocodile. But four non-native species have been introduced to the southeast state since 1960, researchers said. There are a number of other dangerous invasive species spreading through southern Florida, such as the Burmese python.

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California anticipates much-needed rain this week after catastrophic wildfires

California anticipates much-needed rain this week after catastrophic wildfiresGoogle Earth(NEW YORK) -- Ravaged by a slew of deadly wildfires in recent days, northern California is set to get a bit of relief this week in the form of rain.

A storm system is expected to move over the Pacific Northwest later this week and the trailing cold front will most likely bring some much-needed rain to northern California between Thursday and Friday, according to ABC meteorologists.

"It will rain a bit but not enough to fully douse the blazes," AccuWeather Senior Meteorologist Ken Clark said in a statement Tuesday. "The biggest advantage to firefighters will be the increase in humidity and lower temperatures."

Massive wildfires have charred more than 245,000 acres of land statewide in the past week, killing at least 41 people and destroying thousands of homes, according to authorities.

Firefighters were battling about a dozen wildfires as of late Tuesday evening, although most of them were more than halfway contained.

“The weather today will be warm with low humidity, which will continue to challenge firefighters, but only light winds are forecast,” CalFire said in a statement on Tuesday. “A chance of precipitation is expected to arrive later in the week, bringing relief from the dry conditions.”

The northern parts of the Golden State, which has bared the brunt of the fire damage, is forecast to see an influx of cloudy, cooler and wetter weather later in the week, according to AccuWeather.

Spotter from Los Osos was reporting sprinkles from this high level moisture. Dry at lower levels. Rain evaporates. Also called "Virga" #cawx pic.twitter.com/sgxj3bdXZQ

— NWS Los Angeles (@NWSLosAngeles) October 18, 2017

However, a return of dry air, heat and areas of gusty winds could once again raise the wildfire danger early next week, meteorologists said.

Separately, a band of moisture, referred to as Atmospheric River by weather experts, is currently stretching between Asia and North America. It’s expected to bring several storm systems into many parts of the Pacific Northwest through the rest of the week.

The first of these storms have already hit the Pacific Northwest with wind gusts of between 40 and 74 mph.

A number of wind warnings and flood watches are in effect in the western and northern parts of the U.S. ahead of the storm.

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