Today we went to visit the Crocodile Man Tour, which involves a boat tour along the Tarcoles River and along some of the mangroves near the ocean. We met several of the ‘local’ crocs; all given silly names that best describe their temperament. Barack Obama was a large black croc, Shakira was feisty, George Bush wouldn’t come for the chicken, Angelina Jolie wouldn’t come out from under the water. Strangely enough we couldn’t find Osama BinLaden, the supposedly largest croc of them all. We learned a lot of neat information. Here are a few tidbits of information our tour guide told us:
- The Tarcoles has the highest population of crocodiles in the world. 25 crocodiles per km.
- It takes a female croc 8 years to sexually mature.
- The gender of the croc is determined by the surrounding temperature. If the temperature is below 31, the crocodile will be female. Above 32 and the croc will be male. Due to climate change, there is an excess of male crocs. Because of this, there is a lot of fighting going on in the Tarcoles River. Most of the male crocs are partially blinded due to the fighting.
- The crocs never stop growing.
- Their primary diet is fish.
- They can hold their breath for 2 hours.
- They leave their mouth open in order to cool themselves down.
Luis, our captain got out of the boat and fed Shakira (who is pregnant) and Barack Obama (who is huge). He would slap the water with a towel, sending vibrations through the water in order to attract the near by crocs. Our hearts beat quickly as he walked up to the crocs in shin high mud. How on earth would he be able to make a quick escape? Luckily, our tour guide Jason was also able to drive the boat. It was amazing to see the crocodiles in their natural habitat. I am so used to seeing them enclosed at the zoo, sleeping and not moving. Watching the massive reptiles glide along the top of the river was an amazing experience. Steve Irwin would be envious!
We saw all sorts of beautiful birds. Some of which have come from Canada to ‘winter’ here in a warm climate. Joe took some beautiful pictures, perhaps a couple hundred. While in the mangroves, we spotted two Sacrlet Macaws as well as several other uniquely Costa Rican birds.
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