Drivers in St. Augustine, Florida had quite an interesting encounter after an 8-foot crocodile jumped out of a zoo van and into traffic.
Around 3:15 pm on Tuesday, the St. Augustine Alligator Farm Zoological Park reports the 150-pound crocodile was being relocated to another part of their zoo, a two-minute drive.
They then loaded the 8-foot crocodile up in a van and had to briefly drive onto the busy A1A road outside of the park when the croc escaped. A large portion of the incident was caught on video as the zookeepers wrangled the animal safely back into the van.
The St. Augustine Alligator Farm Zoological Park posted a statement on Facebook:
“This animal broke the back window of the van and made a dash down the road.”
“Our crew acted quickly to recapture it, and deliver it safely to its new habitat. At no time was there any real danger as the animal’s mouth was secured. This is why we have extensive training and do drills, to prepare for moments like this.”
The incident only last a couple of minutes, but was scary, nonetheless. “I was right behind the van when it crawled out,” Jessica Stark, who caught the whole thing on video, wrote on Facebook.
ABC’s First Coast News caught up with the zookeepers driving the van who shared their side of the story. They said they used an enclosed van ‘because it’s safe’ and they were only traveling 0.1 miles on A1A. Driving saved a lot of time and energy versus trying to move the crocodile inside of the park.
They’d barely started driving when zookeepers Gen Anderson and Karsyn McCreedy realized something was going wrong:
“I was in the back watching the animals. By the time I was saying, ‘Okay, he’s moving back. He’s kind of moving backwards.’ By the time I said, ‘He’s up by the window,’ he had already popped that window,” McCreedy recalled. The crocodile popped the van’s back window right out and hopped out of the van, and then that croc was on a walk. He landed on the road while the van was still moving.
“I jumped out with or capture equipment we always carry with us when we do transport, just in case for emergency,” McCreedy said. Anderson said they stopped and slammed on the horn before making a call on the radio. McCreedy nabbed the croc with a pole and a line, but he is bigger than she is, and “he took her for a walk,” Anderson said.
Watch it here: FirstCoastNews/Youtube