Mike Gregory and Leigha Poulson didn't think they would make history -- let alone risk serious injury -- when they embarked on a romantic late-night kayaking cruise.
But one flipped boat and a few wounds later, the Florida Keys couple could become the state's first-ever recorded victims of an American crocodile attack.
Gregory, 23, and Poulson, 20, were floating near Sexton Cove around 3:30 a.m. Thursday when "all of a sudden, out of nowhere, we got flipped over," Gregory told the Florida Keynoter.
When the couple returned safely to shore, Gregory discovered puncture injuries in his thighs and Poulson found deep scratch wounds across her rib cage.
"We looked at each other and we're bleeding like crazy," said Gregory.
American crocodiles tend to shy away from a fight, leaving local experts to debate the guilty party.
"We've talked [to Gregory and Poulson] and they didn't see anything," said alligator-and-crocodile specialist Eric Tosso. "Alligators also are in those waters so without a visible confirmation, we would be very reluctant to attribute it to a crocodile."
Yet after seeing photos of the injuries, crocodile expert Frank Mazzotti, a biologist at the University of Florida Research and Education Center, is nearly certain that only the not-so-dreaded American crocodile could be responsible.
"That area is almost all crocodiles," Mazzotti told NBC Miami. "On very rare occasions an alligator may stray into there. Nine out of 10 times it would be a croc in that area. It's possible that it may have been an alligator, but that's going out on a limb to say that."
Croc attack or not, Gregory probably won't be shedding his nickname anytime soon.
"They called me 'Croc' at work even before this," he said. "If there's an iguana or bird or something that needs to be caught, they call me because I can get it."
SUBSCRIBE AND FOLLOW
Get top stories and blog posts emailed to me each day. Newsletters may offer personalized content or advertisements.Learn more