Crocodiles aren’t exactly cute and fluffy but, as you’ll see in this incredible video, maybe they just need a chance to win you over. This is the story of Chito and Pocho, and the unexpected rewards of an act of kindness.
Nearly 30 years ago, a five-metre-long crocodile lay sᴇᴠᴇʀᴇly ɪɴjᴜʀᴇᴅ on the bank of the Parasmina River in Costa Rica after being S.H.O.T by a farmer. Lucky for that crocodile, a kind local named Chito couldn’t bear to let him ᴅɪᴇ. Chito ʀᴇsᴄᴜᴇd Pocho, as he called the croc, and nursed him back to health.
“I just wanted him to feel that someone loved him, that not all humans are ʙᴀᴅ”, Chito told The Tico Times. “I love all animals, especially ones that have sᴜffᴇʀᴇᴅ.”
When Pocho the crocodile had regained his strength, Chito took him back along the river to release him. But Pocho didn’t want to be left behind, and followed Chito home! With permission from the Minister for Environment and the help of a vet, Chito looked after Pocho for nearly two decades.
As their bond strengthened over the years, Chito and Pocho grew to trust each other so completely that they spent hours each day swimming and playing together. Remarkably, Pocho the crocodile was gentle and patient with his human companion and would even respond to his name when called. Thousands of tourists, scientists and animal behaviour experts came to see Chito and Pocho having fun.
After two decades of performing together, Pocho the “domesticated” crocodile ᴅɪᴇd in 2011 natural ᴄᴀᴜsᴇs in his manmade swamp at Finca Las Tilapias, in the Caribbean-slope town of Siquirres.
On Sunday – the day Pocho and Chito normally frolicked in the water for visitors – the village held a grand funeral for the huge reptile.
Chito placed the 5-meter, 450-kilo ᴅᴇᴀᴅ crocodile in a wagon and hitched it to a car that drove the duo around the town. Dozens of vehicles joined the motorcade. At least 50 mourners kept pace with the procession, while onlookers sprinted up to the cart to snap photos. By the time the tour ended, back at Finca Las Tilapias, some 300 people had shown up at the ranch.