September 17, 2005

Squawking to summon

Dama was short, squat and muscular. When he took us out canoeing one moonless night on the canal at Tortuguero Park in Costa Rica (Hi RT!), he told us we might meet some animals. Dark everywhere, vague shapes to indicate the trees, and us, swishing silently through the water. Well, Dama was silent. The rest of us were too pumped to help whispering in excitement every now and then.

Then Dama's hand moved so fast that I could swear it hadn't moved. But whatever it did, he now had a baby crocodile in his hand, about a foot long, and it was squawking, mouth opening over and over again and squawking. White underbelly, greenish body, orange inside of the mouth. Squawking, squawking. I remember.

I remember. Because two days ago at the Crocodile Bank not far from Mahabalipuram, along with hundreds of fascinating crocs and tortoises and snakes, I saw this sign:

    Young crocs may be guarded for a long period after hatching. If it is in danger, a small croc cries out to summon its parents and other adults come to its aid. Crocs are at their most dangerous when their offspring are threatened.

2 comments:

MumbaiGirl said...

Wow.

Roshan said...

Oooh, Tortuguero! My abiding memory is the sound of the howler monkeys. And catching shrimp to put on our lines as bait. And reading Walden as the rains came down. What a place!