The thought of being around crocs terrifies most people. Their uncanny ability to disappear in the shallowest of water with barely a ripple, their huge teeth and strong bite force, reptilian eyes and unimaginable power and speed incite fear into many.
We’ve heard it all... MANEATERS!!! Stumble across a croc and surely he will attack and eat you for they eat anything and everything in their path. Mindless eating machines who destroy without emotion!! Be afraid!! Be very afraid!!
Every classroom we enter and ask children the question “what do crocs eat”? There is always the inevitable answer “people”. But that’s not really true.... so what is the reality behind the myth?
Out of 25 species of crocodilian, there’s really only 2 that have “regular” fatal and non fatal attacks each year and neither of these reside in Belize. The reality is most species will shy away from people and certainly do not see us as a food source. They eat mammals, reptiles, birds, and most of all, fish. We are too big for most species to want to mess with, we put up too much of a fight and they naturally fear us.
So does that mean you should jump in the water for a cool selfie next time you see a croc swim by? Of course not! He’s still a croc after all and one must always show caution in croc territory, just as one must show caution when scuba diving, crossing the street, or lighting fireworks.
Most attacks can be avoided: -Never feed a croc. Feeding crocs is one way to get someone bit by teaching crocs to associate people with food. -Don’t enter the water at night. Crocs can’t see anything underwater at night when they’re hunting and rely on feeling movement and disturbances in the water. -Don’t mess with nests or babies. Most crocs have a strong paternal instinct and will defend their young or unborn hatchlings.
While crocodiles may be apex predators, they don’t deserve the bad rep they get! With a bit of understanding, respect, and caution, we can safely coexist alongside the marvelous creatures of the wild world!