Nothing compares to owning a five-meter-long, 500-kilogram crocodile, one of the most dangerous animals ever. It’s hard to believe, but this man from Costa Rica, Gilberto Shedden, had a huge and terrifying crocodile named Pocho. He swam with it every day in the river. They did that for more than 20 years.
Shedden, a fisherman, tour guide and biologist from Siquirres in the Limón province of Costa Rica, found Pocho dying near financial institutions in the local Reventazon River. The crocodile had been shot dead in the left eye, possibly by a farmer who was angry that the animal was exploiting his herd.
Shedden had no intention of leaving the crocodile there and took it home on his boat. He decided to take the crocodile home to make him feel comfortable. Shedden took great care of the crocodile and fed it 30 kg of fish and chicken every week. He also mated at night. To encourage the crocodile to eat, he replaced the food it chewed with his mouth and gave it kisses and hugs. According to Shedden, the crocodile needed his love more than food to recover.
Shedden named the crocodile Pocho. Because the crocodile is a wild animal, Shedden needed permission from Costa Rican authorities to legally release Pocho into the wild. In the meantime, he hid the crocodile in a secret pond in a nearby forest. After recovering, Pocho was released into a nearby river. But Sheddan woke up the next morning to find the crocodile sleeping on his terrace. It was then that Sheddan decided to keep the crocodile in the water outside the house. He considered it as part of his family. They spent 20 years together, talking and playing together. The crocodile was even trained to respond to its own name.
They also started meeting weekly with alternative travelers from around the world in an artificial lake at Las Tilapias finca in Costa Rica. Both were filmed for the documentary ,,The Man Who Swam with Crocodiles” by South African filmmaker Roger Horrocks shortly before Pocho’s death. He said the bullet that hit Pocho in the head may have affected the crocodile’s mind and changed the animal’s habitual behavior. Many reptile hunters are beaten by their pets. According to him, Sheddan’s life was therefore in danger while he was with Pocho.
But Sheddan strongly disagreed, saying that if it had only been two or three years, something might have happened, but after 23 years of mutual care, that was not possible. Pocho died of natural causes in front of Sheddan’s house and a public funeral was held for the crocodile. Sheddan is currently caring for a new crocodile named Pocho II. Although he is trying to build the same relationship with this crocodile as he did with the original Pocho, he may not be successful with this crocodile. Pocho was a gift for Sheddan and the two had a perfect partnership.