Most people who come on my Louisiana Swamp Tours do not believe me when I tell them I swim with the gators, me and my children. We can swim with them because we eat them, they don't eat us. We are their only natural enemy, and they have nothing to fear except human beings.
What you are about to see here is even harder to believe. But is proof that animals are more adaptive than most of us believe.
Many people fail to grasp the concept of relating to animals and I see this in my dog business all the time. Not only do they underestimate the animals intelligence, but also the emotional or spiritual connections possible.
Of course what I am describing takes time to cultivate, because animals, wild or domestic often are painfully aware that we are the worlds most dangerous predator, are grossly impatient, insensitve and selfish, not to mention we mistakenly believe we are superior to animals and thus are puffed up with pride, rude, loud and arrogant.
Wild animals hate that and domestic ones such as the family pet, do their best to adapt and tolerate us!
Below is a perfect example of the possibilities and benefits of investing time in relating to a wild animal and developing a long term working relationship.
Rather than trying to tame wild stallions,
fearless Costa Rican fisherman Chito prefers a playful wrestle,
in the water with his best pal Pocho - a deadly 17ft crocodile.
daredevil draws gasps of amazement from onlookers by wading chest-deep into
the water, then whistling for his 980lb buddy - and giving him an affectionate hug.
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.
But Chito enlisted the
help of several pals to load the massive reptile into his boat.
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 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. I love all animals - especially
ones that have suffered."
It took years before
Chito felt that Pocho had bonded with him enough to get closer to the animal.
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."
At one point during his
recovery, Chito left the croc in a lake near his house.. But as he turned to
walk away, to his amazement Pocho got out of the water and began to follow
"That convinced me the crocodile could be tame." But when he first
fearlessly waded into the water with the giant reptile his family was so
horrified they couldn't bear to watch. So instead, he took to splashing
around with Pocho when they were asleep..
Four years ago Chito
showed some of his tricks to friends, including getting the animal to close
his eyes on command, and they convinced him to go public with a show.
Now he swims and plays
with Pocho as well as feeding him
at the lake near his home in the lowland
tropical town of Sarapiqui .
The odd couple have now become a major tourist attraction,
with several tour operators,
including Crocodile Adventures, taking visitors on touring cruises to see the pair.
On the Crocodile Adventures website it describes the spectacle as:
"One of the most amazing things that no cruise ship passenger will want to miss, the adventure show between the man and the crocodile."