There's a video making the rounds on the Internet that, had there not been a moment of intervention, would have most likely documented a young swimmer being eaten alive by a giant crocodile. The man filming the action did so from a bridge, but the crocodile near-attack video is a tense account of a boy and his race toward the Mexican shore at the Sian Ka'an reserve with a massive reptile, its large tail propelling it through the sea-green water, quickly gaining on its target. And then something happens that quite possibly saved the boy from a horrible death -- or, at best, some degree of life-threatening harm.
The video was first posted to Noticaribe, which reported the incident in Spanish, on Agosto 14 (Aug. 14). In an English version at 9News.com, it was noted that the crococile, thought to be of the American crocodile species, was thought to be a well fed specimen that inhabits the waters of the reserve, which is located in the Mexican state of Quintana Roo. And although some described the scene as that of a boy swimming for his life, some thought the individual might have been oblivious to the crocodile's presence.
Regardless, the crocodile was gaining, getting nearer and would soon catch the swimmer. Except, from the left of the video, an observer not wishing to see what might happen should the crocodile make good its intended attack, throws a large object into the water. It arcs over the reptile's massive head and impacts the water just inches to the side of the beast's head. Surprised, the crocodile thrashes away from the missile, its target forgotten for the moment.
Said target swims on to shore...
Manuel Carrera, who filmed the chase from the safety of a bridge, described what happened: "Unfortunately, that crocodile already associated us with food," he said, "and as the video shows the boy was saved because the crocodile is well fed and chased at a pace that allowed him to reach the shore."
Why Carrera chose to downplay the danger the boy faced is uncertain, but it would appear that what allowed the boy to reach the safety of the shore was the large object hitting the water and startling it -- not the crocodile's well fed "pace."
Carrera did say that locals feared going into the water because they did not wish to attract the attention of the giant male crocodile, which is fed by food left by tourists and fishermen. Carrera also said he hoped the video would prove an effective warning to other prospective swimmers. He also urged that tourists not feed the wildlife at the reserve.
Last year, a video went viral of a young photographer in Costa Rica was attempting to get close-up photos of crocodiles in the Rio Tarcoles when one lunged at him. He had been distracted by onlookers behind him and had slightly turned in annoyance, appearing to signal the watchers to lower their voices. The crocodile attack, though, was thwarted by the photographer's quick reflexes.
The reptiles in the Rio Tarcoles were also well fed by tourists.
And, well fed or not, crocodiles are known hunters, predators that will kill and eat anything they encounter.