Saturday, 18 March, 2000

19 year old American spring break tourist Spencer VanWeerd received multiple wounds to his head, neck, back and hands when he was attacked by a 2 meter (6.6 foot) American crocodile (Crocodylus acutus) within a brackish boat channel facing a shopping center in the resort city of Cancun at approximately 2:00 am. VanWeerd had jumped into the channel in an effort to evade police officers pursuing him in response to a “stolen beer” report. VanWeerd's wounds required 126 stitches to close and, according to local experts, this was the first attack on a tourist within the area.

Location data

Latitude: 21.143470000000
Longitude: -86.815920000000

Incident details

Outcome: Non-Fatal
Victim Age: 19
Sex: Male
Activity Detail: Jumped into canal in an effort to evade authorities
Witnessed: Yes
Overall Quality of Report
Most important information is present and well-detailed
Date of Incident Date Precision
2000-03-18 Precise
Species Certainty
American Crocodile Certain
Size (metres) Size Precision
2.0 Low certainty
Location scale Location accuracy
  • Precise Lat/Lon given
  • Waterbody (eg, river name)
  • District (common name for an area)
  • Province (or State)
  • Country

About the crocodilian

American Crocodile

The American crocodile is one of the largest crocodilian species, capable of reaching over 5 m (16.5 ft) in length or larger. The species is widely distributed throughout the Americas from southern Florida, the Greater Antilles and Mexico, south to Peru and Venezuela. American crocodiles are primarily a coastal species, although the species may also be found far inland within man-made reservoirs, lakes and along major river basins. As with other crocodilian species, juveniles are restricted to eating invertebrates and small fish; even as adults fish make up a large portion of this species diet, but birds, reptiles, monkeys, and, on rare occasions, domestic livestock and larger mammals. Attacks on humans are not uncommon, but fatalities are rare. The species is currently threatened with extirpation from much of its range due to habitat destruction, poaching and other anthropogenic factors.

C. acutus
Crocodylus acutus
American crocodile range map

About this record

Last Updated Contributor Incident Link Node Item GUID FKID
2013-10-28 15:50 100-4245 4245