What’s Eating You?

If you are in Costa Rica, perhaps you ponder the possibility  that it might be a member of the crocodilus family.  These include  alligators, crocodiles and caimans.    Does the  thought of a crocodile dragging you underwater for a nice lunch intrigue you?  How about knowing that you’re the lunch? Definitely creates undesired visions in my head!  So I decided to explore the actual  possibilities of this happening during my planned adventure there in June .   The crocodile and the caimen are indigenous to the country.    Unsure of the differences, I did some exploratory research to learn about these creatures.  Reading “Costa Rica Traveler’s Wildlife Guide” produced the following:  First the Caiman – relatively small in this group, it rarely grows longer than 8 feet.  Touted as “usually unoffensive” and “local people may swim unconcernedly near them”.  While this may be intended to offer some solace, let me say that swimming with a “tiny” 8 foot Caiman does not produce warm and fuzzy thoughts.

" What has it gots in its mouth precious"?

I won't be swimming with you!

Now on to the “larger” cousin, the American Crocodile.  This baby can grow to 20 feet – more than 3 times as long as I am.  While the Caiman prefers fresh water or brackish streams, the crocodile can be found lurking around mangrove swamps and such.  It can resemble a log floating on the water until “zap” some unsuspecting creature tarries nearby and becomes his next meal.  We all have to make a living, I suppose.  Both the Caiman and Crocodile prefer fish and small mammals for lunch, not human flesh. However, at this writing, I am not planning on testing that theory.

"You can keep your distance too buddy"

Amazingly both the Caiman and American Crocodile are considered to be “relatively unaggressive” and there are few injuries or deaths from untoward encounters in Costa Rica.  That’s a huge relief!  But wait!  There’s more!  You still have GRAND potential to become lunch – the ubiquitous and blood-thirsty mosquito will most certainly enjoy a meal or two at your expense!  Pack the Bug-Off!

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