Thursday, November 8, 2012

12 Foot Crocodile Stands up as Villagers Feed the Giant Predator

A 12-foot crocodile in your path would be scary at the best of times but this one proves it can tower over any human who visits its watering hole. As menacing as the predator looks standing on its hind legs, the huge reptile is considered sacred by the local people in Bazoule village in Burkina Faso, West Africa and is simply reaching for the live chicken being dangled before it by the locals. The relationship between villagers and Nile crocodiles mean that the animals are tame enough to allow people to walk amongst them and even hold their tails.
Using a long stick to dangle a live birds in front of the crocodiles, locals encourage a few of the most acrobatic, clever and hungry crocodiles to stand up on two legs to snap up their food. British IT manager, Gavin Chapman, 34, from London captured this extraordinary sight while on holiday with his family. He said: ‘We were led down to the water's edge by two local guides with only a stick for protection. ‘There were around 15 crocodiles sunbathing about five feet from where we were walking with no fences.
‘One guide held a chicken attached to a stick via some string. It was flapping around making a lot of noise. ‘One croc stood up briefly and with two snaps and it was gone. Then we were invited to touch the croc's tail. ‘After about an hour or so our time came to an end, but by this time we were surrounded by crocodiles, we felt like we were on an Indiana Jones set. ‘We literally had to pick our way through crocodiles to get past, luckily not one even flinched.’ Mr Chapman’s sister-in-law, Kate Speller from Mildenhall, Suffolk, bravely held the tail of one of the giant predators.
Mr Chapman said: ‘Katie was very apprehensive about it but showed great bravery in performing this act. ‘She had to take a wide angle of approach as you can’t walk past the head. ‘She approached very slowly as you would expect. ‘The crocodile didn't even flinch and acted as if she wasn't there.’ Nile crocodiles are found throughout sub-Saharan Africa and reaching 500 pounds, they feed on various animals from fish to young hippopotamus. With the special care and attention from villagers, crocodiles in the area live up to 45-years-old. Mr Chapman said: ‘The villagers believe that the fortunes of the villages are linked to the survival of the crocodiles and vice versa. ‘When a crocodile dies they get buried in the villager graveyard just like a human being. ‘They are seen as part of the village as are any of the local people.’

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