Though crocodiles have been feared by humans since ancient times as they are often depicted as violent and even deadly predators, some more daring souls have dared to explore ways in which crocs can be made friendly companions. Taming a crocodile is no easy feat – not only do you need an experienced trainer, but a special enclosure and lots of patience.
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Even with all that, it remains difficult to trust a croc enough to make it into a beloved pet – would you feel comfortable if you had one of these animals near your child? It’s important to re-iterate the inherent risks in taming a crocodile before jumping into such an endeavour.
This blog post will explore the possibilities of living alongside a tamed crocodile and why this might be beneficial for human-animal relationships in general.
Can Crocodiles Be Tamed?
It is not possible to domesticate crocodiles, despite some people keeping them as pets. Captivity does not mean that crocodiles can be tamed, as they are unpredictable and dangerous animals led by their predatory instincts. It’s worth noting that the term “tame” is often used inappropriately. A tamed animal is not dangerous or frightened of humans.
Most crocodilian species live solitary lives, without coexisting with other animals or even other crocodiles. Unlike some animals, crocodiles cannot be domesticated, as their wild instincts are too strong to be subdued. With the most powerful bite force of all animals, a crocodile’s jaws can generate a force of 3,700 PSI, easily breaking bones.
Even if a crocodile becomes accustomed to humans, it cannot be fully tamed, as one mistake can lead to fatal consequences. Besides the dangers associated with having crocodiles in captivity, it’s not natural for these reptiles to live in such conditions. It’s impossible to replicate their natural habitat, and as a result, many captive crocodiles suffer from depression and other physical and mental health issues.
Can Baby Crocodiles be Tamed?
Although baby crocodiles look adorable and harmless when they first hatch, this quickly changes. Within less than a year, certain species of crocodile can grow up to four feet long, putting their size in stark contrast to their tiny 7-10 inch stature when they first enter this world.
While it is true that these reptiles are capable of adapting to human environments if manned from birth, they retain many of their wild instincts despite their captivity.
Therefore, while it may be possible to raise a crocodile with humans—the risk still persists as no amount of hand-raising will ever erase the inherent danger of a large reptile gaining strength and consequently becoming a threat to humans.
Can Crocodiles Be Pets?
Keeping a crocodile as a pet should be avoided at all costs. Sure, they may look cute and harmless as baby Crocs, but before you know it they have grown to full size and are now dangerous creatures with an immense amount of power.
The thought that a powerful dinosaur-type creature could be living in your home can seem quite daunting; particularly when it has been proven time and time again that even the tamest croc is still driven by its primal instinct to hunt, kill, and survive – and that you could unknowingly become their prey.
Furthermore, not only do these majestic creatures come with high risk attached to them but due to their size and specific habitat needs, you would also need to factor in the costs for all necessary supplies which can add up in no time.
Also, People who wish to keep one must be ready to face some challenges, especially when it comes to feeding. Although captive crocodiles should only eat chicken and beef, their diet in the wild consists of various elements like fish, insects and frogs. It’s quite hard to replicate these conditions so that their nutritional needs are met.
As for baby crocodiles, owners should be mindful of the amount and frequency of food; they should be fed no more than 3 times per week with portions that don’t exceed 5% of their total body weight.
Can Crocodiles be Friendly?
Crocodiles are incapable of experiencing human emotions, such as friendliness, making it impossible for them to establish meaningful relationships with humans. While some may believe that owning a crocodile is similar to having a pet cat or dog, this is an incorrect assumption. These reptiles are unable to learn how to love or be friendly towards their owners.
However, there are always exceptions to the rule, and one remarkable story from Costa Rica demonstrates this. Pocho, a crocodile who was rescued after being shot in the head, formed an extraordinary bond with the man who saved him.
Initially, the man simply visited the location where Pocho resided. But over time, they developed an unlikely closeness that captivated many. The unlikely duo spent time together swimming, playing, and even sleeping nearby.
This unusual relationship garnered significant attention from tourists, scientists, and animal behaviourists. After two decades of friendship, Pocho passed away at the age of 50.
Can crocodiles bond with humans?
Occasionally, there have been instances where certain crocodilian individuals develop such a strong bond with humans that they become companions for extended periods. One such example is a man who rescued a crocodile that had been shot in the head and subsequently formed a close friendship with the reptile.
Can crocodiles be good pets?
Keeping a crocodile as a pet would also present numerous safety risks due to their powerful jaws, sharp teeth, and unpredictable nature.
Can crocodiles be affectionate?
In a study conducted by behavioural biologist Matthew Shirley, it was discovered that larger, more mature crocodiles often engage in ‘social grooming’ by carefully licking one another’s faces and limbs to relax and strengthen the bonds between them.
How intelligent are crocodiles?
Crocodiles are fascinating creatures and often appear quite intelligent. Their behaviour appears to be largely governed by instinct, but they also show signs of learning and responding to stimuli in different ways.
Can crocodiles Recognise Owners?
Surprisingly enough, recent research has shown that some species of the reptile family can actually recognise the face of their owner with remarkable accuracy. Using experiments, researchers demonstrated that crocodiles could pick out a familiar individual from among a set of strangers at a rate much higher than chance.
Crocodiles are wild predators and although they can be around humans, it is impossible to fully domesticate them. Not only is it illegal in a lot of places to own a crocodile as a pet, but it’s also very unethical. Taking crocs out of their natural environment deprives them of adequate space, diet, and other necessities that can’t be provided in captivity.
Some exceptional cases have indeed been documented where people have shared their homes with the reptiles; however, this should not be seen as something achievable by anyone looking to take one home. Domestication implies some level of controllability, but Crocs are governed by instinct and must live free and integrated into their ecosystem. They should remain exactly where nature has intended them to be – in the wild.
A motivated philosophy graduate and student of wildlife conservation with a deep interest in human-wildlife relationships, including wildlife communication, environmental education, and conservation anthropology. Offers strong interpersonal, research, writing, and creativity skills.