In 2011, ACES was called by a local woman of San Pedro, Ambergris Caye to rescue an injured 6-foot American crocodile that had become accustomed to hanging out at the bottom of her stairs. The woman admitted to ACES that she had been feeding the croc for some time, but doing so because she felt bad for him. Two years prior the poor croc showed up under her home close to death. She could see he was severely injured and struggling to survive. Since he appeared to be starving, decided to help him out by throwing him her food scraps. As time went by, the croc not only gained back his health, but learned that human means food. After two years of this, she started to get nervous. All the sudden it dawned on her that she had accidentally trained a now 6-foot crocodile, an animal which has the strongest bite force in the world, to wait outside her door for food.
Once Vince, Cherie, and Chris arrived, the quickly removed the croc from underneath her house. It was immediately apparent why the woman had been so compassionate to the croc: The crocodile's lower jaw sat askew from his top jaw at approximately a 45-degree angle. Upon examination, ACES determined the jaw healed this way after being hit with a sharp object, such as a machete. It is likely that the wound was inflicted on Jaws when he was a juvenile around 4 feet. The severe injury healed in such a way that made it impossible for him to catch live prey. Because of this, he crawled under this woman's house to die. He only survived because of the compassion she showed him.
Jaws lived in one of ACES secure habitats on Ambergris Caye for years until his steady and healthy growth caused him outgrow his pen. In 6 years, the 6-foot sub-adult croc had turned into a large and healthy 9.5-foot male American crocodile, and he was desperately needing a bit more room to be comfortable!
Jaws made the big move in January of 2017 to his permanent, gorgeous pen in ACES new crocodile sanctuary located at Rainforest Adventure Zone in Sand Hill, Belize. He was wrangled, safely secured, and transported to the mainland via the Quality Poultry Products chicken boat. Since the chicken boat comes to the island full of chicken and returns empty, Quality Poultry graciously assists ACES when crocodile transportation is needed. Jaws was released in his new spacious pen and can frequently be spotted sunning himself on the banks in all his glory!
Since Jaws has been in captivity the entirety of his sexually mature years, he began getting a bit antsy after his move. We introduced a problematic aggressive 5-foot female, Jules, to him in November, 2017. After a few days of asserting his dominance by chasing her around the pen, Jaws started to accept his new companion and has even become protective over her! American crocodiles do not become sexually mature until about 6-8 feet (appx. 5-7 years old), so while Jules may not be able to reproduce for a couple years, the time will allow the crocs to develop more of a relationship.
Though ACES never recommends feeding crocodiles, the woman did the right thing by calling ACES when she did. Jaws survives and thrives today thanks to her kind actions!
Want to support Jaws & Jules?
Come pay them a visit at Rainforest Adventure Zone or assist with their care by making a donation specifically in their names! Donors contributing $25 or more to Jaws' and Jules' care will receive special updates and photos!