Beachgoing crocodile is gone, so lifeguards are reopening the waters

Pompano Beach reopened its waters Tuesday morning after a crocodile who surprised beachgoers appears to have left.

Lifeguard crews scoured the beach, driving back and forth along the 3-mile shoreline. At first, they weren’t sure if the crocodile couldn’t be spotted because of the morning glare, but they soon realized it had moved on, just as state wildlife officers had predicted.

The double red flag indicating the water was closed to swimmers and surfers was replaced with a green flag as all-clear sign indicating that it’s safe to swim. Still, lifeguards are keeping extra guard Tuesday: “Lifeguards are vigilant,” said city spokeswoman Sandra King.

American crocodiles, which can grow to 16 feet, live in brackish and salt water in coastal areas. Their U.S. population is strongest in Florida Bay, Everglades National Park and the Upper Florida Keys.

The croc had the water to itself Monday after lifeguards rushed to shut down the beach. It was first spotted early in the morning in the water, heading in the direction of a lifeguard who had gone for a swim as part of the morning routine.

King said the crocodile is tagged, and spent much of the morning underneath the pier in the shade.

Lisa J. Huriash can be reached at Follow on Twitter @LisaHuriash

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