Crocodiles are in Nesting Season and Visitors Must be Careful in Costa Rican Rivers and Beaches

    The attack by a crocodile on two people - which ended with the death of one of them in the South Zone - should not be viewed lightly

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    The attack by a crocodile on two people last Monday, which ended with the death of one of them in the South Zone, should not be viewed lightly by Costa Ricans.LillianaPiedra, biologist and specialist in Wildlife Management and Conservation at the National University (UNA), indicated that these reptiles are not only present on both coasts of the country.

    If not, in addition, right now is the nesting window, which began last January and will last until April, precisely shortly after a time of high tourist visitation on beaches and rivers.

    Hence, Piedra asked people to be careful and exercise precautions when they are in an area that have presence of crocodiles, regardless of whether or not there is some type of signage.

    Courtship and mating

    The UNA specialist explained the reproduction cycle of crocodiles to measure their behavior.Between August and October the animals begin their preparation period for courtship. For this they feed a lot and the males compete with each other for territory,

    Starting in November, courtship takes place with more than one female. During this period, the males exhibit a series of behaviors such as water vibrations, swimming in circles, inflating their bodies or banging their heads against the water so that the female notices them and even chooses them. They also swim together and even dive several times.

    Copulation occurs later, between November and December

    After copulation, the females explore the place where they want to nest between January and February, either on a river bank or on a beach. Some types of crocodiles make mounds in the ground close to water. Others do it with the typical shape of a nest, with a depth of about 40 centimeters.

    Once she lays her eggs (the amount will depend on the size), the female will be between January and April near the nest. This is because any predator can dig into and eat the eggs.

    When any organism comes dangerously close to the area where the eggs are, the female will rise in the water and puff up (the lungs will fill with air) to instill fear, but if this does not work then she will come out to defend the nest.

    Warning signs

    Piedra commented that once this context about crocodile nesting is clear, now is the time to take note of some recommendations for those who visit coastal areas or rivers:

    • First; Visitors should make sure that there are signs on the site warning about the presence of these reptiles.
    • Second: it is good to ask the locals if there are crocodiles there. If its presence is confirmed, it is better to avoid that river or beach.
    • Third: never be alone. The UNA specialist emphasized that these animals do not differentiate between a human or an animal. For them all are potential threats and/or food.
    • Fourth: it is preferable to go in groups and hopefully make enough noise to keep the animal away.
    • Fifth: in the event of an attack, wildlife experts recommend that the person not try to open the jaw, which is designed to clench tightly and tear. Make noise and/or try to hurt the crocodile’s eyes.

    Previous attacks

    The attack this past Monday in Osa is the third that has been recorded in the last three years in different parts of Costa Rica.In August of last year, a reptile killed a man in the Cañas River, in Guanacaste.

    According to the preliminary report from witnesses and authorities, the man was under the influence of alcohol at the time of entering the river.Videos on social networks showed the moment when the animal was shot at least twice, after dragging the man’s body.

    Hence the question, why in this case did the authorities approve the death of the crocodile?As explained by Mauricio Méndez, a Sinac official and expert, protected by article 22 of the Wildlife Law, the Public Force was allowed to act to release the body.

    In October 2022, a crocodile attacked and killed a child in the Cuatro Millas de Matina sector in Limón.After more than a month of searching, the residents of the area found a reptile and hunted it and found human remains inside.

    Resonance Costa Rica
    At Resonance, we aspire to live in harmony with the natural world as a reflection of our gratitude for life. Visit and subscribe at Resonance Costa Rica Youtube Channel
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