A Tamaulipas man was killed by a crocodile last week and a video of the enormous reptile parading his body around the lake has gone viral.
The man entered Laguna del Carpintero (“Carpenter’s Lake”) in south Tampico around 8:30 a.m. Thursday according to witnesses, unaware that a three-meter crocodile was swimming nearby.
The unidentified man’s body was recovered near Volantín and the crocodile was captured.
Emergency services personnel had to break through a drain to recover the body. The lake is located in a park complex that is undergoing renovation.
In the video, three people can be seen calmly filming with their cellphones from the side of the lake. The crocodile is seen dragging the motionless man around the lake, biting his shoulder and neck. The man is face down, semi-nude and unconscious and the crocodile is swimming close to the edge of the lake, as if to present his catch to the people filming.
Crocodile attacks are a real danger in Tamaulipas. At Laguna del Carpintero alone three people have been killed in the last three years and in June, 2021, a video went viral of a woman washing her clothes in the lake, only for a crocodile to grab her by the leg and drag her towards the water.
In La Agua lake in Altamira an eight-year-old girl was attacked by a crocodile earlier this month, before her father, who was fishing nearby, managed to fight it off. The girl survived with forearm, shoulder and back injuries and was treated at a hospital in Tampico. Attacks have also been recorded in Ciudad Madero.
However, despite crocodile attacks and sightings being recorded in almost all lakes in southern Tamaulipas this year, an inspector with the federal environmental protection agency Profepa, Matías Fernández Torres, said there is no plan to relocate the crocodiles.
Fernández said that Profepa couldn’t interfere with the habitat of the crocodiles, in any way that would break their mating habits and reproductive cycles. “It’s their habitat. We as an authority try to defend and protect the ecosystem that we have in this body of water [Laguna del Carpintero], for all the species that live there … it would disrupt their food chain … we can’t interact with nature in a damaging way. What we do as an ombudsman is protect the biodiversity of [the lake’s] species,” he said.
Meanwhile, a family in Ciudad Madero has found a novel solution to the dangers of crocodiles: they made friends with one. For 10 years the crocodile has responded to “Coco,” both an abbreviation for the Spanish word for crocodile, as well as the Spanish word for coconut.
The reptile emerges from the lake for its supper every evening when called, which is provided by the family’s mother, Lidia Loredo Gómez.
Loredo offers it chicken, leftovers or whatever else can be found in the fridge.
When Civil Protection officers previously tried to take Coco away due to the risks it posed to the local population, local people objected and the crocodile stayed.
Loredo, for one, can’t imagine a life without Coco: “He’s part of my family,” she said.