video of Croc Whisperer
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than trying to tame wild stallions, fearless Costa Rican
fisherman Chito prefers a playful wrestle in the water
with his best pal Pocho - a deadly 17ft crocodile.
52-year-old daredevil draws gasps of amazement from
onlookers by wading chest-deep into the water, then
whistling for his 980lb buddy - and giving him an
Chito says: "Pocho is my best friend. This is a very
dangerous routine but we have a good relationship. He
will look me in the eye and not attack me.
too dangerous for anyone else to come in the water. It
is only ever the two of us."
made friends with the croc after finding him with a
gunshot wound on the banks of the Central American
state's Parismina river 20 years ago.
been shot in the left eye by a cattle farmer and was
close to death.
Chito enlisted the help of several pals to load the
massive reptile into his boat.
says: "When I found Pocho in the river he was dying, so
I brought him into my house.
was very skinny, weighing only around 150lb I gave him
chicken and fish and medicine for six months to help him
stayed by Pocho's side while he was ill, sleeping next
to him at night. I just wanted him to feel that somebody
loved him, that not all humans are bad.
meant a lot of sacrifice. I had to be there every day. I
love all animals - especially ones that have suffered."
took years before Chito felt that Pocho had bonded with
him enough to get closer to the animal.
says: "After a decade I started to work with him. At
first it was slow, slow. I played with him a bit, slowly
I found out that when I called his name he would come
over to me."
point during his recovery, Chito left the croc in a lake
near his house. But as he turned to walk away, to his
amazement Pocho got out of the water and began to follow
recalls: "That convinced me the crocodile could be tame"
But when he first fearlessly waded into the water with
the giant reptile his family was so horrified they
couldn't bear to watch. So instead, he took to splashing
around with Pocho when they were asleep.
years ago Chito showed some of his tricks to friends,
including getting the animal to close his eyes on
command, and they convinced him to go public with a
swims and plays with Pocho as well as feeding him at the
lake near his home in the lowland tropical town of
odd couple have now become a major tourist attraction,
with several tour operators, including Crocodile
Adventures, taking visitors on touring cruises to see
Crocodile Adventures website it describes the spectacle
as: "One of the most amazing things that no cruise ship
passenger will want to miss, the adventure show between
the man and the crocodile."
croc ... Pocho answers to his name