Up Close and Personal with Costa Rica Crocodiles
It was another gorgeous day in Costa Rica when I walked down the dock towards the boat that would take me through the infamous Crocodile Man Tour. The bar was set high. I had seen pictures from friends and heard tall tales about this tour. Let me tell you, it did not disappoint.
Jason, our guide, handed each member of the tour a laminated wildlife guide to help identify the various exotic creatures, and identify we did! The tour is a jackpot for anyone who appreciates nature, is fascinated by crocodiles, or enjoys seeing exotic birds. In two hours, my eyes pored over tiger herons, great blue herons, black hawks, osprey and cara cara eagles, spoon-billed ibis, little soldiers, Jesus Christ lizards, a lone turtle, and over fifteen crocodiles varying in size from one foot to 16 feet long! I also learned a lot! I never knew that crocodiles slept with their mouths open to regulate heat! I just figured that they wanted to look scary!
The captain, Luis, not only provided a safe and smooth journey, but also risked his life to display the power harnessed by the crocodiles. Luis skillfully guided a 16-foot crocodile to a grassy sand bar, where he actually got out of the boat and hand-fed the giant! You could hear a pin drop in the boat as Luis held out the pieces of raw chicken for the predator to smell. When the giant jaws grew close, Luis lifted the chicken, enticing the crocodile to climb further out of the water and into the air. After the chicken was finally released, the snap of the jaws startled me and seemed to echo.
Up Close and Personal with Costa Rica Crocodiles.
I was worried for Luis, but he seemed to handle himself very well. This, apparently, was not his first time feeding Bill Clinton. Yes, the guides know all of the crocodiles in the Tarcoles River by name and sight. Besides, good ole’ Bill, we met Beyonce, Shakira, and Lady Gaga. You have to laugh when the guides call something so bumpy and gruesome looking, Shakira. !
After hand feeding two different crocodiles, Luis landed on a separate sand bar nearby a tree that hosted a few eagles. He whistled a call to them and threw up some pieces of food. They obediently soared down, granting us a front row seat to their strong, agile bodies. I couldn’t wipe the grin off of my face as I left the boat that day, feeling a renewed appreciation for what nature shares with me in Costa Rica.
Photo for Up Close and Personal with Costa Rica Crocodiles by Unsplash.