If you thought crocodiles are unpredictable and wholly incapable of forming lifetime bonds with humans, think again.
Gilberto Shedden, a Costa Rican fisherman, came across a young crocodile, which he later named Pocho, in 1991 along the banks of the Parismina River. He found Pocho injured, having been shot through the eye. The crocodile weighed just 68kg.
Gilberto nurtured Pocho back to good health, hand feeding him fish and chicken while spending loads of time with him. In an interview, Gilberto said: “Food wasn’t enough. The crocodile needed my love to regain the will to live.”
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Gilberto eventually released Pocho back into the wild after six months. However, he was astonished to find it outside his house the very next morning. That marked the beginning of an extraordinary bond that lasted 20 years.
He said: “Once the crocodile followed me home, and came to me whenever I called its name, I knew it could be trained. A crocodile behaving like Pocho was one in a million.”
Pocho grew huge, measuring 5 meters long and weighing 454kg. News of their bond soon spread beyond Costa Rica and they put on performances on a weekly basis.
Unfortunately, Pocho died of natural causes in 2011. He was accorded a funeral and his remains have been preserved at a local museum.
Watch their story below.