Photographer's Note

When I posted the deer the other day, I went looking for my rare photos of animals and I stumbled on this one. I was also surprised to find only 3 posts of this place here [1, 2, 3], because as far as I know it is included in most of the standard tourist package circuit of Cuba.

I shot this in a crocodile farm located in the natural reserve of Ciénaga (swamp) de Zapata. Most probably this animal is of the species of Cuban crocodile. However, they also breed American crocodiles in the farm, so I can't be sure.

Although that isn't apparent in the photo, the animals were very well camouflaged in the dark shadows under the bushes and only after we spotted this one we began noticing that we had been walking very close to dozens of crocodiles, having just a wire fence not much taller than 1 meter between us and them. They were all so still and quiet that they look like being dead. I took only this photograph because the noise of the shutter must have scared the animal, who suddenly jumped opening his mouth, giving me one of the scariest moments of my life. I kept saying to myself and my companions that I hadn't been in real danger, as they are too heavy, they lack the agility to reach me and the people from the farm wouldn't risk to let tourists, the most stupid species on Earth, stroll freely offering their hands, arms or noses as a variation of the daily diet of their pets. However, until today I am not sure of that. The fact is that we were the only tourists that ventured away from the souvenir shops by the beautiful lake and from that moment I kept a safe distance from the fence. If you look carefully, you see that I had to be very close to the animal, 2 meters at the most, because I was using a 50mm lens and the DOF only covers the area of the neck.

Cuban crocodile is an endangered species that is found only here, in the nearby Isla (isle) de la Juventud (formerly known as Isla de los Pinos) and Florida. In the latter places it was introduced artificially, but it is thought that the species existed in many places throughout the Caribbean, the Bahamas and South Florida. Most of the animals are kept in captivity, like it is the case of the one we see here. It is the smallest species of crocodile, the most terrestrial and probably the most intelligent.

The farm is a couple of Kms South of the little town of Jaguey Grande and not far from Playa Girón, made famous by the attempted invasion of Bay of Pigs that took place in April 1961, in which some hundred anti-Castro Cuban militiamen with a not so decided support of CIA that proved quite ineffective, were defeated in 3 days by the troops directly commanded by Fidel Castro.

Location (latitude, longitude): 22.3695,-81.1635

Docarmo, ribeiroantonio, jhm, xuaxo, paura, JCG, emilbo, jaywalker, riclopes, shevchenko has marked this note useful

Photo Information
Viewed: 3542
Points: 35
  • None
Additional Photos by Jose Pires (stego) Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 4422 W: 612 N: 7301] (24132)
View More Pictures