Crocodile handoff goes smoothly

A crocodile on the bank of a pond near Marsh Grove Avenue in Mount Pleasant.

Joanna Reinhold

With a fierce thrash of its tail, the wayward Isle of Palms crocodile went on its way home today, carted by pickup truck to an a crocodilian tourist attraction in the Everglades.

The hogtied croc was cut free for the trip in an open barred shipping crate, but the thick black tape stayed snugly wrapped around its snout.

The toothy 6-foot reptile was trapped in the surf last week near the Charleston County park pier on the barrier island, after spending at least the winter in a Mount Pleasant pond, and eluding trappers for weeks before swimming off to be caught.

"Good boy," said reptile expert Roark Ferguson, slapping the crocodile's tail as it slithered into its crate and stared through the tiny black slit in its blank marble eye.

It's headed for Gatorama, a 15-acre park of wetlands and hammocks that features daily alligator and crocodile shows, farm raised alligator meat and boardwalk tours "teeming with alligators, crocodiles, monkeys, bobcats, panthers, birds and other Florida wildlife."

It will be held in quarantine for 30 days in its own pond, but will be on exhibit, said park owner Allen Register. After that it will be introduced in stages to the park's other 40 crocodiles.

The transfer was approved by the Florida Wildlife Commission, which handles crocodiles, a tropical species recently downgraded from endangered to threatened, whose natural range is only thought to reach as far north as southern Florida.

Read more in tomorrow's edition of The Post and Courier.