Man and Crocodile are Cuddle Buddies

11/08/2012

A friend posted this picture and story to my Facebook wall.  I'm always skeptical of stories of giant animals and odd interactions with dangerous predators, but if true, this is pretty phenomenal.  The pictures, at least, don't lie.

Croc Cuddles

 

"Pocho, the 5.2 meter (17 feet) long friendly crocodile!

You've already met Gustave the killer croc, now it's time to meet Pocho. 
Costa Rican fisherman Chito first met the croc after finding him with a gunshot 

wound on the banks of the Central American state's Parismina river 20 years ago. He had been shot in the left eye by a cattle farmer and was close to death. But Chito enlisted the help of several pals to load the massive reptile into his boat and later give him aid and treatment. 
In the words of Chito, "When I found Pocho in the river he was dying, so I brought him into my house. He was very skinny, weighing only around 150 lb. I gave him chicken and fish and medicine for six months to help him recover. I stayed by Pocho's side while he was ill, sleeping next to him at night. I just wanted him to feel that somebody loved him, that not all humans are bad. It meant a lot of sacrifice. I had to be there every day. It took years before Chito felt that Pocho had bonded with him enough to get closer to the animal." (Source 2) 

At one point during his recovery, Chito left the croc in a lake near his house but to his amazement Pocho started following him. Later, Chito got the confidence to get closer to him, with first only attempting to splash with him in the river but later they bonded so well that for almost 2 decades the duo performed tricks for the local crowds.

But in October 2011, Pocho, around 50 years old at that time, died of natural causes and a funeral was held for him. 

At his funeral, Chito couldn't held back his tears and said, "Pocho is Pocho, the only one. There is no more Pocho. He will be the only Pocho there ever was." 
(ticotimes.com)


More pics: http://rense.com/general94/friend.htm

(Suggested by a fan: Ashwin Sriram)

Video: 
1) Funeral: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=79-PmOnNhTw
2) Chito and Pocho performing:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kfNFc-2MIGM

Sources: 
1) http://www.ticotimes.net/Current-Edition/News-Briefs/Costa-Rica-says-goodbye-to-famous-croc-Pocho-_Monday-October-17-2011
2) http://rense.com/general94/friend.htm
3) http://www.animalsaustralia.org/features/amazing-croc-story.php

Image credit: http://3.bp.blogspot.com/-aNMLr4gM_co/T-LwtXsVTeI/AAAAAAAACs8/ilD2gIdpDrU/s1600/Wild+Croc+Loves+Human.jpg
UPDATE: This man and his croc were featured on Animal Planet's Deadly Attractions!

 


David Mizejewski is a naturalist with the National Wildlife Federation. His goal is to inspire others to appreciate the wonders of nature. Meet David >
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