A Costa Rican fisherman tamed a crocodile after finding it injured and on the brink of death.
Chito is the fellow’s name, but he’s better known as “Crocodile Man.” And for good reason.
After finding the deadly reptile on the Parismina River with an injured eye from a gunshot wound, he knew he had to take action if the croc had any hopes of surviving.
According to Rense.com, Chito hauled the beast into his boat with the help of friends, and took it home with him to help recuperate. He named the croc Pocho, and the beginnings of a unique bond were established.
“He was very skinny, weighing only around 150 pounds,” Chito said. “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. I love all animals – especially ones that have suffered.”
Despite the kindness, it still took years for Pocho and Chito to come to terms and interact the way they are in the photos.
“After a decade I started to work with him,” the fisherman said. “At first it was slow, slow. I played with him a bit, slowly doing more. Then I found out that when I called his name he would come over to me.”
Eventually Chito was able to wade into chest-high water and wrestle with the crocodile, something that terrified his family but nonetheless was harmless after Pocho learned to trust his human friend.
The two emerged as a tourist attraction, bringing visitors from far and wide to see the Crocodile Man. Crocodile Adventures, a tour operator in Costa Rica, used these words to describe the experience: “One of the most amazing things that no cruise ship passenger will want to miss, the adventure show between the man and the crocodile.”
Unfortunately, Pocho has since died after an estimated 50-year lifespan, one that would have surely been cut short if it weren’t for his pal Chito.
In the years before his death, Pocho put his friendship on display for many people eager to see the Crocodile Man and his reptilian comrade. Here’s a video of a weekly show in Siquirres, Costa Rica that highlights the memorable relationship between man and beast.
Would you have tried to save a crocodile this big? What sort of animal and human relationships have you seen?
Images via Rense.com