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The Croc Whisperer

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Message claims that attached photographs depict Cairns North Queensland, Australia fisherman "Chito" wrestling in a Queensland lake with his best pal "Pocho", a 5.2 metre crocodile.

Brief Analysis

The photographs are genuine and the story of Chito and Pocho is true. However, Chito and Pocho lived in Costa Rica, not Cairns. Some prankster has altered a report first published in the UK's "The Sun" newspaper to make it appear that the events described took place in Australia rather than Costa Rica.



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Subject: Croc Whisperer Cairns North Queensland Australia

Rather than trying to tame wild stallions, fearless Cairns fisherman Chito prefers a playful wrestle in the water with his best pal Pocho - a deadly 5.2 metres crocodile.

Chito and Pocho 1

The 52-year-old daredevil draws gasps of amazement from onlookers by wading chest-deep into the water, then whistling for his 446 kg buddy - and giving him an affectionate hug.

Chito made friends with the croc after finding him with a gunshot wound on the banks of the Barron River, Cairns, Australia 30 years ago.

He had been shot in the left eye by a cattle farmer and was close to death.

Now he swims and plays with Pocho as well as feeding him at the lake near his home in the Lakeland river north west of Cairns in Queensland . They have now become a major tourist attraction, with several tour operators, including Crocodile Adventures, taking visitors on touring cruises to see the pair

Chito and Pocho 2


Detailed Analysis

This widely circulated message, which travels via email and social media posts, supposedly tells the story of Cairns North Queensland fisherman and his remarkable relationship with a large crocodile. The message comes complete with a series of photographs depicting fisherman "Chito" wrestling and cavorting in the water with his large reptilian friend, Pocho. According to the message, Chito made friends with the crocodile after finding him with a gunshot wound on the banks of the Barron River in Cairns many years ago. These days, claims the story, Chito and Pocho swim together at a lake north of Cairns and have become a major tourist attraction in the region.

The photographs are genuine and the remarkable story of Chito and Pocho is true. However, this story unfolded not in Cairns, Australia but in the Central American country of Costa Rica. It seems that some nationalistic prankster has simply altered location details in an original news article about the pair. Cairns Queensland has been substituted in the prank version for Costa Rica and "Barron" replaces "Parismina" for the name of the river where Pocho was discovered. Apart from a few other substitutions and minor alterations, the emailed version is otherwise identical to the original report.

Australia's Courier Mail newspaper also reported the story in August 2009, noting:
A MAN wades into the water and whistles. What happens next is almost beyond belief. A half-tonne crocodile swims up but instead of making a meal of the man, the two begin to play-wrestle. Meet Costa Rica's own Crocodile Man, 52-year-old Chito, and his best mate Pocho, a five-metre, 445kg croc, who put on this show for amazed crowds at a lake in Siquirres.
And the UK's Daily Mail also wrote about the pair, noting in an August 2009 report:
Known as the 'Crocodile Man', Costa Rican animal lover 'Chito' swims, plays and even feeds 'Pocho' the giant crocodile in what is one of the world's most unlikely friendships. Wading chest-deep through the green water in a 100 sq/m lake in Siquirres, this bizarre and dangerous spectacle draws tourists from around the world. Calling quietly for his five metre long 'companion' before thrashing around, lifting his tail and head above the water.
Why someone felt compelled to alter details in the story to make it appear that it took place in Australia remains a mystery.

The following YouTube video shows Chito and Pocho in action during one of their shows at Siquirres, Costa Rica.

Sadly, Pocho died of natural causes at age 50 in 2011.



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Last updated: 15th June 2012
First published: 15th June 2012
Article written by Brett M. Christensen
About Hoax-Slayer

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