The Crocodile And The Fisherman “A Love Story”

Pocho Crocodile Story

The crocodile is perhaps one of the most feared predators in the world. These massive, carnivorous reptiles are voracious predators that hunt by ambushing their prey next to waterways from the Amazon all the way to the Outback.

No one in their right mind would choose to consort with these terrifying monsters. Well, except for Chito Shedden, a fisherman from Siquirres, Costa Rica. When he happened upon one of these giant creatures, dying on the banks of a river he did something that no one else in the world would think to do: no one sane, anyway…

Pocho Crocodile Story
Featured image credit: www.americancrocodilesanctuary.org
 

The American Crocodile is perhaps one of the deadliest predators living in North, Central, and South America. They can weigh up to 850 lbs and have been known to grow up to 16 ft long. They are also considered to have the strongest bite in the animal kingdom, exerting up to 5,000lbs per square inch. Needless to say, they are animals that most people will generally avoid if possible.

Pocho Crocodile Story
Featured image credit: National Geographic
 

Gilberto “Chito” Shedden. Shedden was a simple fisherman and tour guide born and raised in Siquirres, Limón Province, Costa Rica. Chito also liked to dabble a bit as an amateur naturalist and acquired a broad range of interesting nature facts along the way, which helped his tour business quite a bit. Life was easy for Chito and wholly uncomplicated. That was until he happened upon Pocho…

Pocho Crocodile Story
Featured image credit: National Geographic
 

The year was 1989, and Chito was walking along the banks of the Reventazón River when he happened upon something very strange. There, on the banks of the river, was a dying male crocodile. When he stepped up to investigate the skinny, 150 lb reptile, he realized it had been shot through the head and the left eye by a local cattle rancher.

Pocho Crocodile Story
Featured image credit: National Geographic
 

He knew, as dangerous as it was, he couldn’t leave the poor animal there, alone and helpless. Chito acted quickly, enlisting the help of several brave friends to load the heavy reptile into his boat. He knew if he just got the animal back to his home, he could heal it, then release it back into the wild. He named the massive reptile, “Pocho” which means strength and began to care for him in his own backyard….

Pocho Crocodile Story
Featured image credit: National Geographic
 

The altruistic fisherman started to heal Pocho with a combination of medicine, food, and, more importantly, lots of care and attention. Chito fed the crocodile a steady diet of chicken and fish. He procured medicine to stave off infection and even stayed by his side at night, going as far as to sleep right next to him at night.

Pocho Crocodile Story
Featured image credit: National Geographic
 

For six months, Chito hand fed Pocho. He even simulated the chewing of food with his mouth to encourage the crocodile to eat. Affection was one of the most important factors to Pocho’s recovery. Chito gave it kisses and hugs, he talked to it and pet it. “The crocodile needed my love to regain the will to live,” he said. His first wife was not pleased…

Pocho Crocodile Story
Featured image credit: National Geographic
 

Her husband had brought home a dangerous predatory monster and planned to nurse it back to health. At first, she accepted it. Her husband was doing a good thing. Eventually, though, it seemed like Chito was spending a little too much time with the crocodile for her liking, and she left for good. Chito wasn’t upset, though; there was something

Pocho Crocodile Story
Featured image credit: National Geographic
 

In time, Pocho improved enough to return to normal health. It was time for him to return to his own river in the wild. Chito and his friends loaded the crocodile back into his boat and released him in a nearby river. The two parted ways and Chito returned home alone. The next morning, however, something incredible happened…

Pocho Crocodile Story
Featured image credit: National Geographic
 

When Chito awoke the next morning and walked outside, he found Pocho sleeping on his veranda. The crocodile had swum down the river and followed him home. It seemed to Chito that Pocho had made his choice, he wanted to live in Siquirres with the man who had saved his life. Pocho was moved into the lake on Chito’s property, and in time, the two grew even closer.

Pocho Crocodile Story
Featured image credit: National Geographic
 

As time marched on, Pocho became a member of the family. Chito remarried and had a daughter of his own of course, but the crocodile remained a feature of their homestead. Although, the little girl was not permitted to go near the hulking reptile. After Pocho had followed him home, Chito tried calling his name. The croc responded, and the fisherman knew he could be trained…

Pocho Crocodile Story
Featured image credit: www.ourplnt.com
 

Pocho had bonded with his savior. Their long nights sleeping with one another, the food and friendship that Chito had provided him, they all added up to a strange bond between man and beast. Chito worked with Pocho for a solid 10 years before he started to become more playful. It was a slow, grueling process and it all started with Pocho getting used to being called by name and responding to Chito’s small touches.

 

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