American crocodiles are long, scaly reptiles. They live in watery areas known as wetlands. In the United States, this kind of crocodile lives in the Everglades. That is a swampy section in the state of Florida. The Everglades is an ecosystem. An ecosystem is a place where living things, like animals and plants, exist with nonliving things, such as water and soil. Any change to an ecosystem may affect all the wildlife that live in it. In 1975, the American crocodile was listed as an endangered animal. Endangered animals are close to disappearing forever. One reason why the American crocodiles were in danger was that people were moving into the reptiles' ecosystem. People built homes and businesses on Everglades land. That made it harder for the crocodiles to find food and lay eggs. People who were worried about the crocodiles and other wildlife in the Everglades worked to pass laws to
protect the ecosystem. Today, there is good news. Scientists say there are more than a thousand American crocodiles living in southern Florida. The laws are helping the crocodiles survive.