Wild crocodile bares menacing teeth at scuba diver who gets too close
Crocodiles are large and fearsome lizards that live in fresh water throughout Central America. They can be found in swamps and marshes, as well as rivers. This Mexican crocodile was sunning himself on a rock ledge in a freshwater oasis called Cenote Manati. Cenote Manati is a freshwater river that is partially open and runs partially underground. A long series of underground rivers and caverns connect hundreds of cenotes throughout Mexico. Scuba divers enjoy the beautiful scenery as well as the technical aspect of exploring underground caves and passages.
A group of scuba divers came to the surface in an open portion of this cenote and found that they were only a few feet away from a large male croc. Although crocodiles are not usually aggressive towards scuba divers, they are definitely territorial. Armed with a GoPro camera on a pole, this diver made a slow and careful approach to the crocodile and was able to film him under the surface, as well as above. After a few minutes with no reaction from the croc, the diver moved in even closer for a better look, perhaps misunderstanding the croc's lack of reaction as permission to move in.
But the crocodile decided to send a clear message that the diver was too close. Opening his large mouth and exposing a full set of 68 pointed teeth is a definite warning sign that is used to ward off rival crocs and other animals. The diver got the message and pushed off from the ledge to create more distance. The scuba guide who was immediately behind the diver with the camera was watching the encounter closely. He is very experienced with Mexican crocodiles and it was clear to him that the croc was giving a warning. He can be heard saying: "Dave. Dave" in a concerned voice, signalling that it was time to end the encounter. Crocodiles in the wild should be considered potentially dangerous if they are not treated with respect. This diver was wise to take the hint and move away when he did.
Crocodiles are ambush predators, programmed to see animals and even people along the shore line as prey, but ignoring large animals like humans who are fully in the water. For this reason, humans are at much greater risk wading or walking at the shore than they are swimming right beside a crocodile. But as more information is gathered, the general opinion now is that Mexican crocodiles are more dangerous than once believed, with at least 12 documented human fatalities. Even though the Mexican crocodile is one of the smaller species of crocs, it is easily capable of overpowering a human.