American Crocodile Education Sanctuary

PO Box 9, San Pedro Town, Ambergris Caye, Belize, Central America

+501-623-7920  |  +501-637-8769

©2019 American Crocodile Education Sanctuary. All rights reserved. Website created by

ACES is a Non-Profit Organization founded by Wildlife Behaviorist & Croc Wrangler, Vince Rose, & Research Biologist, Cherie Chenot-Rose ~ Belize


  • chrissummers06

Jewels get a new habitat

In late 2017 we stumbled across Jewels by random chance while surveying our partners property, Caribbean Shrimp Farm.

As we always do when surveying crocs, we splashed water with chicken to gauge a crocs behavior. Their reaction, or lack thereof to the splashing will tell us something about their interaction with people.

One of three things usually happens in this scenario.

1: Nothing at all. They may turn their head to investigate what the noise is, but once realizing it's people, they show no interest and keep their distance. This is wild behavior and is the reaction we're looking for.

2: They're interested but cautious. They begin to close the distance between us, usually slowly, but they're interested none the less. This sort of behavior tells us an animal has been fed, either directly or indirectly. They've slowly began to lose their fear of people as the feeding gets them accustomed to us.

This behavior is not overly concerning though. The croc is still somewhat cautious and is easily spooked. A capture may take a little time, but the stress of capture if successful will more than likely reinforce any trepidation the animal felt about coming close to people. Next time he encounters someone, chances are high he'll run the other way.

3: That croc comes and that croc comes fast! No hesitation. No fear.

This is not what you want to see. That is an animal that has been fully habituated to people from being fed.

This is what happened with Jewels. She came so hard and fast all the way up onto shore, she forced us to retreat 10ft back.

We brought her home with the intention of putting her in a rehabilitation pond, and through a process of negative reinforcement attempt to reverse her habituation to people. She was less than 5ft at the time, just a young lady really and we had no intention or desire to keep such a young croc. Unfortunately, things didn't pan out how we planned.

She was energetic, but underweight. Not quite emaciated, but she wasn't far off. So we stocked the pond with live fish and left her to get settled. We wanted her to gain a healthy weight before beginning the rehabilitation process. But after 10 days she hadn't touched a single fish and we grew concerned.

Crocs can stop eating for any number of reasons. She could be suffering from illness or disease, or it may simply be she was stressed from the new environment. We threw piece of chicken in to see if she wanted it and she took it immediately!! Maybe she wasn't a fan of those particular fish..? So we fished one out and put it on shore and again she was on it immediately!!

Jewels doesn't know how to hunt.

Over the next few months we spent countless hours watching her behavior and attempts at hunting without any success. We even saw her bite her own tail once spinning around trying to get at fish!! How can an animal get to her size and age and not know how to hunt??

As best we can figure she must have been someone's pet from an early age and she never learnt, and once she got to a size where she could start to do some damage they released her.

We tried to teach her to hunt using wounded fish and crabs, taking saltwater sardines and putting them in the freshwater pond so they'd be easier to catch as they were dying, but it was a catch 22 predicament. The more we interacted with her trying to teach her, the more we reinforced the fact that people mean food. Not that it mattered in the end, for all our efforts Jewels is still unable to catch her own food even to this day. She won't even eat crabs now after one evening when the crabs we threw in for her were bullying her pinching her toes and tail!

In December 2018, we began drawing up plans for a proper enclosure for her next to our home, complete with multiple levels of filtration and aquatic cover. We ordered everything we needed from the States that we couldn't find in country and in March 2019 began clearing bush and digging out the hole for the pond. By the 3rd week of May he new home was finished. We stocked the pond with fish, planted cattails and lilies, and transferred Jewels into her new habitat.

It's now 2 months later and the ecosystem is fully established. The lilies are spreading nicely providing the cover crocs so desperately crave, numerous fish have reproduced in the pond so there's fish of all sizes in there now (Jewels still hasn't caught a single one), and Jewels is as happy as a captive croc can be.

Bracing back the sand and giving the pond its shape

The piping is all part of the under gravel grid filtration

The water was murky from the gravel for a few days until the filters did their job

The brand new pond with Jewels in it climbing out the bottom right corner

How it looks today

I'm rather proud of how this turned out after months of planning and research

Jewels basking in the sun next to her waterfall (which she loves to sit under)

Beautiful Jewels :)


Your tax deductible donation helps to fund our country-wide crocodile rescue program and supplies food, vitamins, medical care, and maintenance of natural habitats for crocs undergoing rehabilitation, as well as for injured and problematic crocodiles living in the sanctuary.



Click on a title below to read the complete article about ACES conservation efforts.


"Fondation Brigitte Bardot Donates Vehicle for Conservation" - The San Pedro Sun

"Slaughtered Jaguars Prompt GOB to act, Crocodile Mutilations on Island Go Ignored" - The San Pedro Sun

"School Children Learn about Crocodiles with ACES" - The San Pedro Sun

"ACES Relocated Large Problematic Crocodile to Mainland Sanctuary" - The San Pedro Sun

"Freshwater Crocodile found on Ambergris Caye" - The San Pedro Sun

"How Did Freshwater Crocodile End Up in San Pedro? - Ambergris Today

"ACES - Protecting the Threatened American Crocodile through Education" - My Beautiful Belize

C is for Crocodile….it’s good enough for Me! A fun and educational tour with ACES - First World Refugee

"Carnival, Filling my Burrito Bunker & The Family Visit! My Life On Ambergris Caye" - San Pedro Scoop

ACES - American Crocodile Education Sanctuary - She Trips Alone

Lagoon Clean-Up Mobilizes San Pedro Residents... Everyone Can Help - San Pedro Scoop

"San Pedro Lagoon Clean Up" - My Beautiful Belize
"Over 5000 lbs of Trash Removed from Lagoon Clean-Up" - The San Pedro Sun

"Family fun at Carnival Fundraiser for Raise Me Up and ACES" - The San Pedro Sun

"Islanders Celebrate World Earth Day 2018" - The San Pedro Sun

"Reef Fair 2018 Promotes Education and Conservation of the Reef and Marine Ecosystem" - The San Pedro Sun

"2nd Annual Raise Me Up Masquerade Party a success!" - The San Pedro Sun

"US student volunteers help clean up Ambergris Caye" - The San Pedro Sun

"ACES educates 2018 Camp Starfish attendees" - The San Pedro Sun

"“We are more alike than different” – Camp Starfish is back!" - The San Pedro Sun

"Christina Was Worried She Would Attract Too Much Attention Passing Through Town" - Ambergris Today

"Crocodile Rescue and Release in Ambergris Caye with ACES - LeAw in Belize" - Leave Everything And Wander

"Learning more about crocodile with ACES - Night Tour and Sanctuary in Belize - LeAw in Belize"  - Leave Everything And Wander

"ACES rescues Crocodile Thomas on Ambergris Caye" - The San Pedro Sun

"ACES Rescue Thomas the Croc" - Channel 5 News

"Letter to the Editor: This has to be a community effort" - The San Pedro Sun

‘Belize Navidad!’- Ramon’s Village wins 2018 San Pedro Holiday Boat Parade - The San Pedro Sun

"More Christmas Lights Than Ever At Holiday Boat Parade" - Ambergris Today
"It’s CHRISTMAS 2018! Our Beautiful San Pedro Lighted Boat Parade" - San Pedro Scoop

"Thousands of pounds garbage removed during SP BTIA clean-up in San Pedro Town" - The San Pedro Sun

2010 & 2011

ACES Receives Donation from ERAS 

ACES Earns Verification from GFAS 

ACES Earns verification from Global Federation of Animal Sanctuaries 

Problematic Croc Preys on Pets 

Crocs have a New Home 

Crocodile Sanctuary on Mission to Save 30 Crocs 

Conservation Organization in Uproar over Crocodile Capture 

Crocodile Dundees Get a Grant to Save Crocs 

The Summerlee Foundation Donates to ACES Forum "The Summerlee Foundation Donates to ACES" 

Wranglers for Conservation - Saving Crocodiles in Belize

Caribbean Shrimp Farm & ACES Join in Conservation 

Crocodiles and Shrimp 

ACES Breaks Ground for New Croc Refuge on AC 

Croc Takes a Swim at Las Terrazas Pool 

David Tuts Recovering from Saturday's Croc Attack

Man Beats Back Man-Eating Croc 

Man Recovering From Croc Attack 

Croc Attack Update

Wild 13-foot Croc Attacks David Tuts During Late Night Swim

Croc Attack Reported in San Pedro 

Croc Chronicles - The Rescue of "Jaws," and Crocs George & Xanadu Home at Last 

Crocodile Refuge Proposal in Ambergris Caye

Snorkel Team During the Day, Crocodile Researchers at Night 

"My Bohemian Life" Experiences ACES

Legend's Burger House Raises $4000BZD for ACES's Crocodile Conservation 

ACES at Isla Bonita 

Legend's Burger House Hosts Fundraiser for American Crocodiles 

The World Wildlife Fund Films ACES 

The Island Academy Hosts ACES and a Croc 

Crocodile Gets Library Card 

Croc Chronicles #4 

ACES Soars with LightHawk 

CrocLog Podcast - Episode 4

Croc Chronicles #3 - French Film Crew Captures ACES

ACES Croc Chronicles #2 

First Ever Crocodile Rescue on Caye Caulker 

Photographer Documents ACES

Professional Wildlife Photographer Shoots with ACES

Crocodile Confiscated 

ACES Crocodile Chronicles 

Moving a Problem Croc in San Pedro on a Wet Night 

ACES Choco-Croc Pops by Cotton Tree Chocolate

Reward Offered for Missing Children

Belize Forest Department Press Release Supports ACES

ACES Hosts First Ever Fund Raising Event in Punta Gorda 

Editorial - Condoning Illegal Croc Feeding Sends the Wrong Message 

Two Problematic Crocs Removed From WASA Lagoon

Problem Croc Removed From Local Lake 

Ripley the Morelet's Crocodile Euthanized - Ambergris Daily 

Ripley the Morelet's Crocodile Euthanized - San Pedro Sun 

Belize Wildlife Officer Comments on  Rescued Corozal Croc 

Ripley's Last Chance 

Animal SOS - Rouge Male, Bad Boy George, Crocodile Seeks New Home 

Tortured and Left for Dead - ACES Rescues Corozal Croc

ACES assists Dr. Rainwater with Hickatee Turtle Survey for the Turtle Survival Alliance 

Illegal Feeding, Garbage & Development Make for Problem Crocs 

Problem Croc Removed from San Pedro 

ACES to the Rescue