Wednesday, 24 April 2013

Watch distracted photographer nearly eaten by crocodile (Video)

A video of a lone photographer on a Costa Rica riverbank almost getting snapped up and eaten by a giant crocodile hit the Internet Sunday (March 24) and quickly went viral. Posted by PetaPixel and other websites, the video is a perfect example of living close to the edge and how distraction can nearly get you killed.

The video depicts a young photographer, Antonio Ruiz, attempting to get some up close photos of some rather large crocodiles at a place called "Crocodile Bridge" on the Rio Tarcoles, Costa Rica. As he snaps pictures, a friend, David Clow, videotapes from farther up the riverbank. Others (in the background) are talking, yelling warning comments, and tossing meat down to the water's edge to lure the crocodiles in closer.

An American crocodile on the riverbank, a common sight along the Rio Tarcoles in Costa Rica.

At one point, Ruiz, who seems to signal for the watchers to be quiet, becomes annoyed and turns to voice his displeasure. (Clow writes in the comments on YouTube that Ruiz was asking people -- sarcastically -- to come down and join him.) It is at this time that a crocodile that had drifted up to the edge of the bank decided that fresh and living was better than the dead pieces of meat being offered -- and lunged.

Ruiz apparently catches the movement from the corner of his eye and narrowly escapes the cavernous jaws that widen and snap shut just inches from him as he jumps away. Screams and yells from the onlookers make the video even more exciting to watch.

Clow even added a slow-motion section to the video that really captures how much of close call the encounter really was.

Clow insists that Antonio Ruiz isn't dumb or crazy, just a daredevil photographer. The problem was that Antonio and his friends weren't even feeding the crocodiles. They were being fed by tourists that buy chickens by the side of the road, sold by vendors trying to make a few dollars off the sight-seeing of live crocodiles at Tarcoles Bridge.

Clow also says he and his crocodile-avoiding buddy are going back for more photographs.

Still, there are a few words of advice that should be given to people hanging around crocodiles so that they aren't eaten. The first thing is, for those videotaping the incident and those hanging around shouting and tossing food to the crocodiles (all safely out of reach of the massive crocodiles), distracting someone in close proximity to the behemoths from being watchful and wary is never a good idea.

Second, no matter how daring you might be and no matter how big your camera is, your machismo is no match for the pounds-per-square inch bite of a full-grown crocodile, so you might want to be careful how close to the water's edge you get. (A 2012 study led by paleobiologist Gregory M. Erickson of Florida State University and published in PLoS ONE revealed that crocodiles have the strongest bite on the planet.) Oh, and never, no matter how annoyed you get with those around you, allow yourself to be distracted...

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