Crocodiles have a fearsome reputation and not something most people would want to keep as a pet. However, some see this as a challenge, and will have desire to keep and try to tame crocodiles.
But as far as crocodiles being able to be tamed and domesticated, well… it’s complicated.
Can crocodiles be tamed? No, crocodiles can’t be tamed or domesticated by humans. Although many people keep crocodiles as pets, they are still dangerous and cannot be domesticated in the same way as cats and dogs. This is because of their high predatory instincts.
So, that’s the short answer. But there are people in history who believe they have managed to tame crocodiles. Here’s some examples, plus information on how crocodiles might feel affection and how some think they can bond with humans.
Can crocodiles be tamed and domesticated?
Some people believe they have managed to tame crocodiles. It’s not always a true taming though and can often have tragic consequences.
Can crocodiles bond with humans?
Take the famous story of Chito and Pocho the crocodile. After finding Pocho severely injured on the banks of a river, Chito, a kind-hearted Costa Rican man, nursed the 5-meter reptilian back to health. Over time, both the human and crocodile developed a strong bond and could often be found swimming and playing together.
Despite this, there are many cases of seemingly placid crocodiles turning aggressive and seriously injuring or even killing their owners in the process – stories like Chito and Pocho’s where a crocodile apparently formed a bond with a human are extremely rare.
Crocodiles have a reputation for being dangerous and unpredictable for a reason, and in certain areas of the world, such as Egypt and Africa, they will actively hunt humans if given the opportunity – crocodiles are not an animal that should be tamed.
So, that’s the concise answer on whether crocodiles can be tamed. However, make sure you stick around if you want to find out more about the subject.
Below you’ll find the answers to a variety of related questions, such as why crocodiles can’t be domesticated and the laws on keeping them as pets.
Why can’t crocodiles be tamed or domesticated?
Crocodiles are some of the oldest animals on the planet, and this plays a role in why they cannot be tamed. Unlike cats or dogs, crocodiles lack a prior history of domestication and as a result, haven’t been bred to form close relationships with humans like other species of animals (for example, hippos).
Despite this, even the most loyal of dogs still retain some of their wild instincts, and when frightened or hurt they may snap at their owners.
Many animal experts believe that all species of animals, regardless of whether they are domesticated or not, are never fully tamed or predictable (although dogs come close).
For this reason, judging how a wild predator will react in the presence of humans and other unfamiliar stimuli is almost impossible. They are solitary creatures in the wild, and a home-based setting full of strange sounds and sights is unsuitable for them.
What’s more, crocodiles are unlikely to thrive when kept in captivity and you attempt to tame them, and this can cause them to lash out in frustration.
Sadly, attacks from crocodiles are usually fatal or life-threatening, unlike those from canines or felines.
This is due to their incredibly strong jaws that pack a bite force of over 3,700 pounds per inch – enough to bite through steel. This fact probably plays a role in why our ancestors never tried to domesticate crocodiles in the past, and why most people are reluctant to own them as pets!
Can crocodiles be trained?
Yes, much like other animals, crocodiles can be trained to perform tricks and listen to commands. In general, almost any creature capable of intelligence and decision-making can be trained with enough time and effort.
This is true for even the most vicious predators in the animal world.
In fact, two crocodiles based at The Blue Planet Aquarium in Chesire have famously been trained to obey the commands of their keepers using a target stick that they associate with food.
By using the target stick, the trainers encourage the small crocs, named Paleo and Suchus, to perform a variety of tricks, such as staying completely still, returning to the water, opening their mouth, and holding their legs out on command.
After some time, they were even able to get the crocs to enter transport crates or perform medical checkups without restraining them, making their job much easier. In other areas of the world, such as India, crocodile training projects are becoming increasingly popular at zoos and aquariums.
That being said, it’s worth mentioning that training isn’t the same as taming. Although crocodiles can be motivated to follow commands for food, they are still unpredictable, and things can easily go wrong. Crocodile trainers who perform for crowds are regularly injured, such as this man in Thailand who had his arm badly bitten but thankfully escaped alive.
Can baby crocodiles be tamed?
Let’s face it, baby crocodiles are adorable. As a result, many exotic animal owners often purchase them failing to realize they will rapidly grow into huge crocodiles within a year or less.
Similar to adult crocodiles, baby crocodiles cannot be fully tamed due to their strong hunting instincts and rather unpredictable temperaments.
That being said, crocodiles raised in captivity are likely to have a better relationship with humans than wild crocs and may become used to living in a human environment if they have access to large bodies of water and plentiful amounts of food.
Can crocodiles be friendly to humans?
According to recent studies, crocodiles are probably capable of forming playful relationships with humans and other animals, although it’s rare behavior outside of their own species. Crocodiles enjoy playing with balls and other toys in captivity, and at times, will develop a friendly relationship with their trainers.
In the case of Chito and Pacho (who I mentioned earlier), both the crocodile and human would swim together every day and play a variety of games. Pacho the croc was even happy to receive the occasional kiss on the snout or hug from his human friend. However, it’s still a topic of debate whether the average crocodile is truly capable of feeling loving emotions and socializing regularly with humans.
In general, it’s a good idea for most people to keep their distance from crocodiles, especially those that are found in the wild.
Crocodiles are some of the coolest animals on the planet. Not only are they efficient predators that can take out the largest of herbivores and carnivores with ease, but they’re also highly adaptable and can survive in a variety of extreme weather conditions.
For this reason, it’s not unheard of for people to try and keep crocodiles as pets.
However, whilst some will keep crocodiles at pets, trying to tame a crocodile is entirely different proposition.
You might also like…
- The truth about where crocodiles sleep
- How hippos don’t always get along with crocodiles
- Why crocodiles open their mouths when resting
Image in header via https://pixabay.com/photos/girl-child-crocodile-reptile-swamp-5462505/