Over the last several years, some new arrivals have taken up residence at Naval Air Station Key West's airfield on Boca Chica Key: American crocodiles.
"We don't know exactly how many we have," said Edward Barham, the environmental director for the base. "But we know we have four or five of them pretty much all the time."
Barham shot a picture of a particularly large one, an estimated 8 to 10 feet long, hanging out on the edge of a lagoon on the base, with its mouth open. NAS Key West recently made the image the cover photo on its Facebook page and has been soliciting nickname suggestions.
Some of the suggestions so far: Croca Chica. Maverick. Crocky McCrockerson. And Skipper, which is a traditional term for the commanding officer of a Navy ship or Naval base.
Barham said the crocodiles haven't ventured onto the runways during flight operations — yet — but that they have been known to cross the roadways on the base and sometimes get stuck there because of the fencing.
"We've had to basically remove sections of fence to get the crocodile where it wants to go," he said.