Tetrapod Zoology

Chito and Pocho, frolicking in the water

What’s going on in these pictures?


You might already know. If you do, feel free to spread the news.



  1. #1 Hai~Ren
    September 10, 2009

    OH. MY. GOD.

  2. #2 Hai~Ren
    September 10, 2009

    The best source of information I could find was surprisingly, this article from The Sun.

  3. #3 Jeffrey Martz
    September 10, 2009

    My best guess; the crocodile is a dead floater and the guy is pulling the carcass in for someone to deflesh so that I can have the skeleton.

  4. #4 Nathan Myers
    September 10, 2009

    Readers of the Sun article might not get its title, “So Snappy Together”. We have a joke in English that depends on a pun: “snappy” means both “quick” and “tending to bite”. The joke is about a sandwich shop that advertises “any sandwich you want”, and a customer who says “bring me an alligator sandwich, and make it snappy!”. Therefore we associate this word “snappy” strongly with crocodilians. Also, we have an iconic song “So happy together” (recorded originally by The Turtles in 1967).

    I wonder if he still feeds it. I would.

  5. #5 Croconut
    September 10, 2009

    It’s that Costa Rican man who saved the crocodile’s life after it had been shot, and the crocodile now recognizes him and lets him swim with him and even comes when he is called.

    I might add that somewhere in the Pacific coast of Mexico (if Im not mistaken), another man has established a similar bond with another American crocodile; he feeds him since it was very young and now the croc comes when he is called by his name… although I dont know if the guy has ever tried to swim with the animal. I wouldn´t 😀 Scientists often say that American crocs are “not as aggressive” as Nile or Saltwaters, but they are still dangerous; in my country, several people are killed by crocs every year, often without provocation. (Although most of the time, the people is to be blamed for not reading the “danger” signs and going to swim anyway). They also grow to be incredibly big; I was in a lake inhabited by crocodiles and saw some humongous skulls being kept by the game wardens. The dominant male was said to be 6.5 meters long.

    Sorry bout the long post…

  6. #6 Markus
    September 10, 2009

    It’s surely not the fastest croc but it moves without his help:

    Chito and Pocho Costa Rica
    Man tries to get eaten by Crocodile Chito Y Poncho

    According to the news he has a own show and tourists can watch them. A short search on Google and I found what looks like the official Blog.

  7. #7 KW
    September 10, 2009

    Thought I’d post a different article on this guy and his buddy.

    Doesn’t have a video but it does have some different photos than The Sun.

  8. #8 Jerzy
    September 10, 2009

    But he is in totally unuitable position to have sex with a crocodile!


  9. #9 Jura
    September 10, 2009

    Nothing will ever be as amazing as Owen and Mzee, but this story certainly comes close.

  10. #10 Darren Naish
    September 10, 2009

    Oh yeah, the hippo and the tortoise. Their relationship was not as harmless as it might seem: I heard that the hippo was damaging the tortoise by sucking on its shell and limbs, and the hippos was suffering from skin damage by spending too much time away from water.

    Thanks to all for thoughts and comments, much appreciated.

  11. #11 RStretton
    September 10, 2009

    Excellent story. I don’t want to come over all soft and nanny-state-esque but I do worry for the croc’s future. It doesn’t say how old he is but I would imagine that he will outlive Chito (who is 52) by some time and then what will happen? I wonder how much of Pocho’s diet is made up of handfeeding and whether it is possible for crocodiles to actually forget how to hunt anyway? Certainly you’d assume his non-fear of humans is going to get him into trouble if Chito departs. Still you’ve got to hand it to Chito that’s some effort to help a reptile.

  12. #12 thylacine
    September 10, 2009

    “I don’t want to come over all soft and nanny-state-esque”
    Actually you just did.

  13. #13 Sebastian Marquez
    September 10, 2009

    That must be an amazing sight! Coolest thing I’ve seen today, but that happens a lot with what I see here…

  14. #14 David Marjanović
    September 10, 2009

    Well, I suppose crocodiles only kill you when they’re hungry.

    (Unlike hippos, famously, who’ll kill you for trespassing.)

  15. #15 M. O. Erickson
    September 10, 2009

    This is one of the most touching stories I’ve come across in a long time. I was nearly brouight to tears reading that Sun article*. Pocho seems to somehow know who saved his life, and he is returning the favor by not biting Chito’s head off. I tell you, non-avian reptiles are smarter than we give them credit for. (And if you need more proof than this story, there’s the recently recycled Version 1 Tet Zoo article “Dinosaurs Come Out to Play”).

    *Stupendously sappy, I know.

  16. #16 Michael P. Taylor
    September 10, 2009

    I can see this ending very messily.

  17. #17 Stevo Darkly
    September 10, 2009

    “I don’t want to come over all soft and nanny-state-esque”

    “Actually you just did.”

    Oh, naw he (she?) didn’t. To really come across as all soft and nanny-statist, RStretton would have to demand a government program to take care of and feed indigent/orphaned crocodiles when the humans upon whom they’ve become dependent die or neglect their responsibilities. We’d call it the program Assistance for ‘Bandoned Crocodile Dependents (ABCD).

  18. #18 doug l
    September 10, 2009

    Well, as long as he’s not doing anything that is proven dangerous, like driving in rush hour traffic on a friday evening.

  19. #19 Jeffrey Martz
    September 10, 2009

    I still like my guess better, since I want the skeleton. I personally wouldn’t recommend making a routine of getting so close. Since the crocodile is still an animal, it may decide out of the blue to behave differently for no other reason than it felt like it. Then Chito will have a very suprising and briefly exciting day.

  20. #20 Cindy Sue Causey
    September 11, 2009

    Having once stroked a young gator’s belly myself years ago, kitchy-kitchy-koo was the first thing that came to Mind.. Close enough for horseshoes..? 😀

    I *love* the images..

  21. #21 retrieverman
    September 11, 2009

    American crocodiles are far less aggressive than other species. I don’t know of anyone in the US who has been attacked by one– ever.

    However, that is very big American crocodile, and he’s playing with fire. I hope he’s heard of Timothy Treadwell.

  22. #22 kad
    September 11, 2009

    Apparently crocodiles, like parakeets, are warm and cuddly. Ergo, via phylogenetic bracketing, we can deduce tyrannosaurs were warm and cuddly.

    Perhaps the creators of “Barney” had it right?

  23. #23 David Marjanović
    September 11, 2009

    American crocodiles are far less aggressive than other species. I don’t know of anyone in the US who has been attacked by one– ever.

    That could just be because there are almost no American crocodiles (left) in the USA…

  24. #24 johannes
    September 11, 2009

    > That could just be because there are almost no American
    > crocodiles (left) in the USA…

    And those few who remain dwell in places where few – if any – humans dare to approach the water 🙂


  25. #25 retrieverman
    September 11, 2009

    There are about 500 to 1,000 left in the US.


    They probably never had a vast range in the United States. However, they are making a comeback.

    For some reason, this species tends to avoid people. I’ve only seen them in zoos and reptile parks.

    Ironically, one of the best places to find this species is at a nuclear power plant: http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=9718547

  26. #26 Croconut
    September 11, 2009

    I agree with johannes and David. I have friends in US who were surprised when I told them there were still a few crocodiles living in Florida; they thought there were only alligators…
    But in Mexico and many central American countries, crocodiles are relatively abundant and a lot of people lives around their rivers. In the city of Tampico, the crocodiles live practically in the city; Steve Irwin was there once, and said that the crocs (American) were surprisingly docile, but even so, recently some people have been eaten there… mainly drunk people who went to close, tho.

    Because I have seen wild American crocodiles up close, I can testify that they are rather ill tempered as well, but then again, I have never been in front of a saltie or a Nile croc in the wild…

  27. #28 CanWeKeepHim
    September 21, 2009

    Still… what an amazing sight.

    It would seem it likes its underbelly rubbed, perhaps why it’s so docile in the water.

    Hard to wrap your brain around the idea of a domesticated crocodile, though… I wonder if it wags it’s tail when it’s feeding time.

    “Fetch Pocho!”… Wait!.. The ball!! Not Skippy!”
    “Um, honey… better take Jr. to the pet store for a new puppy…”

  28. #29 CanWeKeepHim
    September 21, 2009

    Pocho, a 17ft, 980lb crocodile, is estimated to be around 50 – almost the same age as his owner.

    Chito made friends with 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.

    He says: “When I found Pocho in the river he was dying, so I brought him into my house. He was very skinny, weighing only around 150lb. 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.

    He says: “After a decade I started to work with him. 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.”

    “He’s my friend, I don’t want to treat him like a slave or exploit him.”

  29. #30 Rob Fou
    October 10, 2009

    A rather misleading article …. That is not a crocodile! It’s an alligator and & their temperament is totally different to that of a crock.

    To everybody who is reading this … never ever get close to a crock. They are a primitive animal that doesn’t no fear and isn’t fussy what it eats.

    If it has just eaten it will still take you and store your body submerged under a log to eat 3 days later.

    I repeat … never mess with a crocodile!

  30. #31 Hai~Ren
    October 10, 2009

    Rob Fou: I recommend that you actually check your information before you come barging in with your wild statements.

  31. #32 David Marjanović
    October 10, 2009

    Rob Fou, I recommend you read the post before commenting on it.

    Did you really believe we can’t tell a crocodile from an alligator by looking at it? Be ashamed.

  32. #33 KM Berry
    July 20, 2011

    Better hope that Croc doesn’t devolop Alzheimers over the years o.O

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