Thursday, April 14, 2011

Bastard Costa Rican Wildlife: Giant Crocodiles

Well, we've come to yet another Thursday and yet another installment of Bastard Costa Rican Wildlife. This will be the last installment of this feature for a bit because I have found that it could adversely effect my chances of anyone else coming down here to visit me. So starting next Thursday, a new feature entitled Kick Ass Costa Rican Wildlife will become the regular Thursday post.

When Michael Crichton penned his techno thriller, "Jurassic Park" he used Costa Rica as a backdrop to the story. The fictional islands of Isla Sorna and Isla Nublar are based on the real islands of Cocos and Tortuga, respectively and alot of the filming was actually done in Tamarindo. The novel opens with some strange animal attacks on the Costa Rican mainland that result in all hell breaking loose. For those of you who are only familiar with the movie, I can't recommend the actual book itself enough.

I am of the opinion that Crichton probably came here on vacation, took one look in any given body of fresh water here and instantly came up with the idea of a story involving dinosaurs running amok in the modern world. Why do I think this? Because down here we have a creature that actually pre-dates the dinosaurs by about 20 million years, ate them when they showed up, and survived whatever killed them. These are the crocodiles, or specific to my location; Crocodylus acutus, The American Crocodile.

My Alma Mater
Growing up in S. Florida I got to know it's smaller, more mellow cousin the American Alligator quite well. My mother would oftentimes have to chase them out of our yard or swimming pool in the mornings with an air horn. Sure, some of them got to be about 12 ft., but they were generally shy and pretty laid back. Attacks were rare, and were more often than not, the fault of the person messing with the damn thing.

This man is over 6 ft. tall...
Not so with this big bastard though... This guy kills people. And at a maximum length of 22ft (confirmed in 2004!) and packing half a damn ton, this is the closest thing we have to an actual predatory dinosaur on the planet. Crocs in Australia and Africa do have a bigger body count than the ones here in Latin America, but that is because they are closer to more populated areas like the Nile river and almost every Aussie national park. To find the crocs down here, you need to go to the fresh water estuaries and mangrove marshes which are extremely remote and difficult to get to without a guide.

 Costa Rica sees at least one fatality involving these behemoths every year, and there were five in 2007...an entire group in a canoe who ventured farther than "recommended" (read: they were warned). All five were killed and only two bodies were recovered. The kicker? It was an attack by TWO (you read that right) crocs that did all this damage. And again, as per CR policy, the deaths were listed as "recreational accidents" on the official books.

The best place to see these guys is from a nice comfortable distance with a licensed guide. Below is a video of one such guide in the Tarcoles River area, and he's the same guy in the picture above...


And here is yet another Tico Crocodile Guide with his friend "Pocho". The guy's name is Chito, and he found this croc almost dead about 12 years ago and nursed it back to health. Ever since he has been doing shows in the Siquieres area with him and other crocs under his care. Do NOT try this at home... 


So this concludes the final "Bastard Costa Rican Wildlife" feature for a while. Maybe another animal will piss me off enough to feature it, but for now and going forward, we are going to focus more on the "good apples" of the bunch. I am an animal lover after all, and hate to think I've been scaring away potential visitors.

24 comments:

Autumnforest said...

Gators, crocs, doesn't matter--they're both totally badass and to be taken quite seriously as I believe we're lower on the food chain in their territory. I like your idea to convert to the pretty happy creatures of CR. You are a hoot! And don't think we've forgotten the flies that bury parasites under the skin. Hey, did you ever cover those parasites that swim up a dude's urethra in warm waters?

The Angry Lurker said...

They are beautiful but deadly all at the same time.

Aaron M. Gipson said...

@Autumnforest
You mean the Candiru? Yes they live here as well, but are pretty rare. Unlike in the Amazon, they have quite a few predators that keep them at bay (Alligator Gars specifically) in Costa Rica. But what a horrific, malevolent, hateful creature...

@Angry Lurker
I agree about the beauty of crocodillians, I've always loved them. Like St. Irwin was fond of saying, "absolutely gorgeous"!

Patwa said...

woa nice post ^^
brr pretty big beasts

Aaron M. Gipson said...

@Patwa
Ginormous even...

Body1 said...

Cool post !!


I'm sorry for the above comments and it was a mistake please delete!!


thanks!!

Astronomy Pirate said...

We have a saying about your Alma Mater around here: "Fuck the Gators"

Hahaha, all joking side, those are some vicious looking beasts, definitely deserving of some respect.

YourArgumentIsCurrentlyInvalid said...

scary

Melanie said...

Holy Hell! We have something similar to that here...if you venture to close to this cut off road known as 8 Mile (perhaps you saw the movie) and venture further south, the creature is more prevalent...anyhow, we call them Pit Bulls. (Though, I don't believe any were featured in said movie. They are just on the local news).

Grafted said...

Nice vids, I love crocodiles.

mac-and-me said...

Holy shit, the crocodile was scary but now i looked up Candiru, what the.. man.

;___;

Venus said...

whoa that´s a big motherf.....!

mmmpieohyeah said...

woah I looked up the Candiru... dude that's something else

Kicking Rocks said...

those crocs are HUGE!!!

Jay said...

REALLY HUGE!!!

Moobeat said...

that thing is a boss

ed said...

i hope to never encounter one of these in my lifetime

Marlene said...

I think I'd wet my pants...and faint...if I ever came face to face with one of those! They're HUGE!!!

Malkavian said...

Poor crocs were killed by the ignorance of others same all but Crocs indeed are our own dinosaurs for the moment at least

Zombie said...

People who do things like that with alligators have something seriously wrong with their heads...

Chris Prendergast said...

I remember seeing alligators in Florida, and I thought those were creepy. I would not go within eyeshot of these beasts o.o

Lhosreiff said...

Crocodiles are Badass.

Justin said...

I'm looking forward to the kick ass wildlife! Crocodiles and alligators are both things I prefer to always stay away from.

CandleintheDark said...

This was an awesome update