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Croc Rescue - Introduction

At Croc Encounters our policy is to accept any and all unwanted crocodilians from all over the country. Crocodilians are animals such as alligators and caiman, crocodiles, and gharials. These animals are our focus. We also take in other types of reptiles such as snakes, lizards, turtles and tortoises.

We cannot, however guarantee that we will be able to accept these. No matter where the animal is located, there are a variety of easy and safe shipping options available.

Once animals are placed with us, they become permanent residents of the sanctuary. They will not be sold or adopted out. They are cared for by our group of dedicated staff and volunteers.

Rescued animals, depending on their temperament and size, may be used in educational programs at schools, camps and for other interested groups.

Fill out this Animal Donate form if you wish to place an animal with the Sanctuary.

Nuisance Alligator

Croc Encounters does not have permission to remove wild alligators without a permit from the state. All wild alligator removal must go through the state first. Alligators that are truly a nuisance should be reported to the state nuisance alligator hotline (866-FWC-GATOR).

Alligators play an important role in Florida’s ecosystem. These are our top level predators. Having them here keeps the populations of other animals in check. If we do not feed wild alligators, they will not seek people out. They avoid humans and do not see us as a food source, unless they are fed. An alligator in a pond in your neighborhood is not a nuisance. However, an alligator that approaches people is. There is a difference. Because Croc Encounters is licensed by Florida Fish and Wildlife to keep and exhibit crocodilians, we are allowed to accept nuisance alligators from the trappers in the state.

*Unfortunately most trappers will catch and destroy the animal, and sell its meat and skin. Nuisance alligators are not relocated!

*The trapper does not get paid by the county or FWC, they rely on the product from the animal. So, please think twice before you contact the state.

Being residents of Florida we must learn to live side by side with alligators and all the other wildlife native to our state. With Florida’s growing population, there are less and less natural areas for these animals to live. We are encroaching on their habitat and there will inevitably be conflicts. These conflicts can be reduced if we treat these animals with the respect that they deserve. Respect means not attempting to handle or feed wild animals, but rather observing them from a safe distance and allowing them to go on their way.

At Croc Encounters, we face questions from the public regarding their pets and alligators. Alligators typically prey on animals such as small mammals (raccoons, opossum, rodents, etc.), birds (ducks, herons, egrets, etc.), turtles, and fish. An animal the size of a small- medium sized dog or cat is appropriately sized for an alligator to consider a food source. It is not the alligators fault!

The alligator is wild, dogs and cats are not. Please keep your animals indoors, in fenced yards or on a leash.


Croc Encounters is a known shipper with Delta Airlines. We are able to ship alligators, and other reptiles using Delta Cargo. The animal must be placed in a shipping appropriate container, and dropped off at an airport that accepts Delta packages.

Once you have contacted us, we would give you a variety of options of times and dates of flights and together we would choose a direct flight. One of our representatives would pick up the animal at the Tampa International Airport. You can find out if there is an airport near you that Delta flies into.

We have had great success transporting animals through and we have never had an animal die in transport or suffer any health problems. It is a simple and, as long as your animal is packaged properly, a low stress way to move an animal. Croc Encounters will make the shipping arrangements, please contact us by e-mail at

Direct Pickup:

Having our representatives directly pick-up your animal and transport it back to the sanctuary is an option.

There may be costs associated with this, but depending on your location and ability to handle the animal, this may be the best choice.


If you are able to transport the animal directly to our facilities, we can arrange drop-off. You must contact us in order to schedule a time and date before coming to the sanctuary with your animal.

Animals from outside of Florida may require special permits for transport into the state. We are not able to accept animals obtained from an illegal source.

Other Shipping Options:

There are a variety of other options available for animal shipment. Please contact us for further details e-mail at

Crate Building

The general rule of thumb when shipping a reptile is to restrict the amount of space that the animal has to move around.

Alligators and Crocodiles

For large animals (>4 feet long) make your crate out of wood. For smaller crocodilians, you may use a plastic box or tote.

This box would need additional security in addition to whatever it comes with. We suggest drilling holes through the top to the lip of your tote and securing locks. Air holes should be minimal for either the wood or plastic box.

Too many air holes could lower the temperature to dangerous levels inside your box!

When shipping from cool climate locations in winter, include a hand warmer heating device.

When shipping during the summer or when temperatures are greater than 75 degrees, include a cold pack.

Do not place the heat or cold pack right next to the animal. Place them instead in a separate area of your shipping box.

We do not suggest keeping the animal’s jaws taped or roped in transport. These things could easily become loose and work down towards the animal’s nostrils, causing suffocation. We also do not suggest taping or covering the animal’s eyes for the same reason. Legs may or may not be bound. Cushioning should also be provided for the animals to ease any bumps during transport. We suggest towels or crumpled newspaper.

If transporting more than one animal per box, separate each animal inside of the transport box (i.e. place each animal in its own small box and place all the small boxes in the large transport box).

Turtles and Tortoises

These guys must be transported in boxes that are not much larger than the animal itself, and they should further be constrained with hay.

We do not suggest newspaper or towels, in case the turtle tries to eat these materials. Plastic boxes or totes are suggested with small air holes. We do not suggest cardboard.

Snakes and Lizards

The best way to transport these animals, depending on their size is sacks or pillow cases. The sacked animals can be placed in a cardboard or plastic box with some filler (shredded newspaper or hay)

Very large snakes and lizards are best transported in secured plastic boxes or totes. Make small holes in your box.

Transport Do’s and Dont’s


  • Make small holes in your transport box
  • Make your box only slightly larger than the animal
  • Cushion the inside of your box with material (hay, shredded newspaper, etc.)
  • Include a heating or cooling device depending on the time of year
  • Contact us first to make travel arrangements
  • Say “I am transporting this back to the home office” to the person at the Delta counter
  • Allow at least 1 hour to handle things at the airport when dropping your animal off
  • Clearly label your box “LIVE ANIMALS”
  • Include any permits/documentation
        For Alligators Include Two Copies of this Form


  • Make holes in your box large (max size = diameter of pencil)
  • Put food in with your animal
  • Feed your animal for at least 2 weeks prior to shipment
  • Bind or restrain the animal in the shipment box
  • Include water in with the animal (even if it is an alligator)


Croc Encounters is located at 8703 Bowles Rd., Tampa, FL 33637. Here we have primarily outdoor enclosures for a variety of reptiles. Rescued animals consist of turtles, tortoises, snakes, lizards, alligators and crocodiles. Animals of the same species are kept together whenever possible.

When new animals come in to our sanctuary, we observe a quarantine period. During this time, they are kept separate from other sanctuary animals. Health assessments are completed when a new animal comes in, after its quarantine period and every 6 months thereafter.

Croc Encounters currently houses many animals and that number grows all the time. We are constantly building new habitats to accommodate the animals. Please help with a monetary donation, sponsorship of an exhibit or by adopting an animal.