Video spotlight

Video spotlight: American Crocodile Encounters

I’m headed the Mayan Riviera in a few weeks to chase bonefish and other salty critters on the fly—it’s a great place to visit if you’re a fly fisher, especially if you can get out of the perpetual “spring break” atmosphere near Cancun. You can chase flats fish along the beach as you head south to Tulum and even farther south, toward Mahahual and the eventual boarder with Belize.

But I’ll put the fly rod down for at least one day, and do some snorkeling, and I’m hoping to squeeze in some time to come face to face with an American crocodile (I’m leaving my ample fly rod collection to my kids, in the event this adventure doesn’t work out like it’s supposed to. Judging from the video above, it seems pretty safe).

American crocs are extremely rare in the American Caribbean, but farther south, along the Mexican shoreline with the Caribbean, they’re quite common. In the Everglades, the rarest reptile in North America has been pushed to the brink of extinction thanks to loss of habitat and general habitat degradation, pollution and the introduction of non-native species. Once numbering only about 400 animals in Florida, there are now close to 1,000 crocs in Floridian waters thank to the protections offered the animal under the Endangered Species Act.

But, in more remote parts of the Caribbean, particularly along the Mayan Riviera, seeing one is not out of the ordinary. And, getting up close and personal with one is a worthy detour from days spent chasing bones and permit on the flats.

Well… maybe.

— Chris Hunt

By Chris Hunt.