Kenneth Brown, Arial Sampos and Steve
Platt (holding the dog "Trouble.")
The Halligator is lying down.
While the crocodile was a guest at Hol Chan he was measured, blood samples were taken, his scales were counted and his scale pattern was noted. The two species scale patterns differ. Having an opportunity to examine the crocodile closely will benefit Platt's research. No one knows exactly how long crocodiles live as there are no reliable techniques to determine their age. Counting the scales, or the sections in their tails is not effective or accurate. Scientists also have not been able to find out how often these large creatures feed. Platt said that when smaller crocs are caught their stomachs are pumped so scientists can check to see what their food sources are. Inland crocodiles have been found with the remains of rats, mammal hair, frog bones and crab shells partially digested. How often the larger species feed is unknown, and pumping the stomach of the larger species is difficult and dangerous. Large crocodiles have a low metabolism and require little food to sustain themselves. It is thought they may only feed once or twice a year. Platt noted that there are some misconceptions about crocodile's feeding habits. He pointed out that crocodiles and developers have much in common - they both like elevated beach ridges and as "civilization" closes in on the aquatic reptiles their feeding habits change. It's easy to get "lunch" where the hotel restaurant dumps its fish heads and other edible garbage. As San Pedro develops there are more reports of crocodiles in town. Many live in the mangroves and are frequently sighted in back of the airstrip area and in San Pablo. The unwilling visitor to Hol Chan was found basking on a bank north of the Boca del Rio in the lagoon. Crocodiles frequently come out of the water at night to cool off as the air temperature is cooler than the water temperature. The crocodile was captured by Platt, Hol Chan ranger Aurial Samos and Kenneth Brown.
Word spread through San Pedro about the crocodile and many people came to get an up close look. The crowd watched and helped lift the crocodile out of the building for a photo session, and then they placed it in the back of a pick up for a ride back to the boat. He was gently lowered into the boat, the rangers and "Trouble" hopped aboard. Steve Platt remarked that returning the crocodile to the sand bank where he was found, and releasing him was going to be another real adventure.