The Unbelievable Friendship Between a Man and a Crocodile: The Story of Pocho and Chito



In this article, we will delve into the heartwarming and inspiring story of Pocho the crocodile and his best friend, Chito. This unlikely friendship between a man and a crocodile that spanned over two decades has captivated the hearts of people around the world. From how Chito rescued Pocho from the brink of death to the weekly acts they performed for tourists, we will explore the many facets of their unique bond. We will also discuss the impact that their story has had on people’s perceptions of animals and the lessons that can be learned from their friendship. So sit back, relax, and prepare to be amazed by the incredible story of Pocho and Chito.


The Beginning of a Beautiful Friendship

In 1989, a crocodile lay dying on the banks of the Reventazón-Parismina River in Siquirres, Costa Rica. The crocodile had been shot through his left eye by a local cattle farmer who feared that he was preying on his livestock. Fortunately, the crocodile was rescued by Gilberto “Chito” Shedden, a local fisherman who found him and nursed him back to health.

Chito felt an immediate connection with the crocodile, whom he later named Pocho. Once the crocodile followed him home and came to him whenever he called its name, Chito knew that it could be trained. However, Pocho was not an easy patient. During his recovery period, Chito had to make sure that he was well-fed, going to the extent of simulating the chewing of food in order to encourage him to eat.

The incident that led to Pocho’s injury was unfortunate, but it brought Chito and Pocho together. Chito saw something in the injured crocodile that others did not. While others feared and avoided him, Chito saw a creature in need of love and care.

Despite Pocho’s reputation as a fierce and dangerous crocodile, Chito was determined to show him that not all humans are bad. He wanted to make sure that Pocho felt that someone loved him, and he was willing to go to great lengths to do so.

Chito’s efforts to encourage Pocho to eat and regain his will to live were tireless. He knew that food alone was not enough. The crocodile needed his love and attention to feel safe and secure. He would converse with him, give him kisses, and even sleep with him.

Over time, Pocho began to trust Chito and the two developed a close bond. Pocho would follow Chito around, even when he was swimming in the river. He would rush towards Chito with his mouth open, but would close it before getting too close so that he could be kissed on his snout.

Chito’s love and care helped Pocho to recover from his injuries and regain his strength. It was this bond that would go on to make them famous around the world and serve as a symbol of the power of love and friendship to overcome even the most unlikely of obstacles.

A Bond That Defies Nature

Despite being a cold-blooded reptile, Pocho reciprocated Chito’s affection and showed signs of human-like emotions. He would rush towards Chito with his mouth open whenever he saw him in the water, and he even closed his mouth before getting too close so that Chito could kiss him on the snout.

Chito and Pocho’s bond went beyond just physical contact. Pocho would follow Chito around and show a genuine interest in his life. He would even watch Chito’s family from a distance, as if he were a part of their household.

Chito and Pocho’s unique bond drew attention from around the world, and they became celebrities in their own right. They would perform a weekly act every Sunday in Siquirres, where they would show off their friendship in the water for tourists.

The act was a sight to behold. Chito would swim with Pocho, kiss him on the snout, and even allow him to gently bite his head. It was clear that the two had a deep connection that transcended the boundaries of species.

Chito and Pocho’s story caught the attention of filmmaker Roger Horrocks, who directed a documentary called ‘The Man Who Swims With Crocodiles.’ The documentary chronicled the unique bond between Chito and Pocho and delved into the theory that Pocho’s altered behavior was due to the trauma he suffered from the gunshot wound.

Horrocks suggested that the trauma to Pocho’s head may have damaged his brain, altering his natural behavior and enabling him to feel human emotions after being rescued by Chito. The documentary was a huge success, and it helped to further spread the story of Chito and Pocho’s friendship around the world.

The End of an Era

Pocho passed away from natural causes on October 12, 2011, at an estimated age of 60 years old. His passing was a great loss for Chito, who had spent more than two decades with his beloved friend. In honor of Pocho, a public “human-style” funeral was held, where Chito sang to him while holding his “hand.” The event was a testament to the deep bond between Chito and Pocho and showed how much the crocodile had touched people’s hearts around the world.

After Pocho’s passing, Chito was left with a void in his life. However, he found a new crocodile that he frequently encountered at the same river near his house. Chito named him Pocho II, and he began training him to be his new friend.

However, the relationship between Chito and Pocho II is uncertain, as it is impossible to predict if they will form the same deep bond that Chito shared with Pocho. Chito’s relationship with Pocho was truly special and rare, and it is unknown if lightning will strike twice.

The story of Pocho and Chito is a powerful reminder of the connection between humans and animals and the importance of treating all creatures with kindness and compassion. Their unlikely friendship has touched the hearts of people around the world, and their story has become a symbol of hope and love.

Through their bond, Chito showed that animals are capable of feeling emotions and forming deep connections with humans. It also highlights the impact that humans can have on the lives of animals and the responsibility that we have to treat them with respect and kindness.

The story of Pocho and Chito teaches us that there is more to animals than meets the eye, and that we should strive to understand and appreciate them for who they are. It shows us that with love, patience, and understanding, we can form meaningful connections with animals that can enrich our lives in ways we never thought possible.

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