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The Australian Crocodile Whisperer
Chito and Pocho playing together.
Along with the Great White Shark, the Crocodile is probably the most feared predator in the world.
Welcome to The Australian Crocodile Whisperer.
In the old Walt Disney Film, Peter Pan, there was a song which went like this:
“Never smile at a crocodile. No, don’t ever get friendly
with a crocodile, for he’s imaginining, you beneath his skin... “
Along with the Great White Shark, the Crocodile is probably the most feared predator in the world. They’re dangerous- very dangerous. In Australia, the ‘big salty’ (salt-water or estuarine crocodile) is known to be our nation’s only really dangerous-to-human animal. And rightly so, for many a man and woman have been taken over the years.
Even the most fearsome beasts can be tamed.
Yet here we have something so astounding that, at first, it seems unbelievable. I certainly would not have believed it. But here are the photos, and unless they’re fakes, and I don’t think they are, that prove that even the most fearsome of beasts can be tamed. No, tamed is not the word. You could say, and it’s something that I never suspected before, that all creatures have within them what can only be termed as goodwill or love. We know that fear is the opposite of love. So when fear is removed, totally removed, there is nothing left but love. And here we have one of the most fearsome creatures of all – a huge crocodile and a man who have become friends.
Chita and Pocho swimming together.
Even a baby salt-water croc can be dangerous.
It does seem incredible. I can recall the in-borne ferociousness of even baby crocs. For example, I can remember some drunk had placed a six-inch-long baby salt-water crocodile among some water lillies in a big flower-pot outside of the hotel in Madang, Papua-New Guinea when I lived there in 1964. The drinkers used to stir up this little creature, annoy it, by sticking a finger in the water and endeavouring to get it to attack. Well, one day a fellow was a little too slow in taking his finger out and this tiny croc bit his finger to the bone. Blood everywhere! An attacking croc can move at incredible speed.
Can you believe this? A tummy rub...
Big 'salty' attacks four-wheel drive vehicle.
There was another incident, heresay but very quite likely true, of a huge croc attacking a four-wheel drive as it crossed a causeway up there in New Guinea. It crabbed and shook that Landrover and frightened hell out of those inside it, before realizing the vehicle was just too heavy for it.
Big salt-water crocodiles in Australia can grow to enormous size. The one featured here in these photos is seventeen feet long. But the biggest I’d ever heard about was a twenty-four feet monster found dead on a Northern Territory beach back in the 1940s that had had been attacked and killed by a pack of sharks. It’s body had washed ashore.
Oh, Pocho, what big teeth you have...
Little wonder the people gasp in amazement.
Little wonder then that people gasp in amazement to see a fisherman, Chito, from the Queensland coastal town of Cairns wading into muddy brown waters to actually give a huge 17 feet long crocodile a hug. Yes, a fifty-two year old man actually plays – in the water would you believe! – with a 1,000 pound salt-water crocodile. Apparently, they have become friends
He's got him up, but can he make him 'sit?'
Chita dedicated himself to a baby who grew into a giant.
Apparently Chito made friends with this monster many years before. He found it lying almost dead on a river bank, it having been shot in the eye and left to die. When Chito found it is was so sick and weak that he did not really think that it would survive. However, with help from other fishermen he loaded it into his boat and brought it home.
This kindly fisherman decided that he’d do all in his power to keep the animal alive and see to its recovery. At that time Pocho, the name he gave the croc, was a mere 150 lbs in weight. Little more than a baby, really. Chito fed him up. Not only that, he stayed with this creature, sleeping next to it in its hours of need. You could say he dedicated himself to its welfare.
Just who is smiling at who?
Pocho walked out of the water and followed him home.
Eventually the beast started to recover, and then to grow, and grow, and grow. Fed on fish and chicken, it never had to fend for itself from thereon. And as time went by, a great deal of time, the crocodile actually started to come out of the water to Chito when called. Of course, that’s not particularly remarkable when you consider the bond. But when Pocho actually walked out of the water to follow Chito home one night, the fisherman knew that this was something more than the usual man-crocodile relationship.
Up, now, and you get a little something.
Four years ago, Chito went public.
After many years, Chito took the risk. He went into the water with Pocho, and instead of being attacked, the huge animal came over and nuzzled him. Poch and he were friends. This, of course, had taken many years.
Four yers ago Chito and the big croc went public. Now this giant ‘salty’ swims and plays with the man who saved his life. And, naturally enough, when word of it all got around, the pair became a tourist attraction. At time of writing, they still are.
I hope you enjoyed reading The Australian Crocodile Whisperer.
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Tom Ware is a Master Storyteller. Known as 'The Prince of Storytellers, Tom has been entertaining audiences with stories for thirty years. Tom joined his first Toastmaster Club in 1972. He's also been a member of Rostrum Clubs of NSW, the National Sp
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