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Africa Nature Nigeria

Agulu Crocodile Lake

Thalassophobia

Thalassophobia is the fear of water depths and water-dwelling creatures.

If you watch National Geographic or any wildlife program on TV, you will agree that a hungry crocodile is brutal. I have had a personal experience myself, watching them display savagery during feeding time, in different zoological gardens. Since then I have made up my mind to respect their distance. In short, I’m terrified of them!

I seldom swim in the river. When I do, I would prefer to sit and watch or to be knee-deep in the water. Every little ripple from fish or crabs, in streams or rivers, get me wary. Growing up, I’ve seen the tide carry a huge snake from the thickly forested upriver to playing children and washing mothers, down the river. I can still remember the commotion that ensued that peaceful noon.

Luckily, not all lakes, streams, or ponds harbour harmful animals like leeches, water scorpions, gators, or crocs. Well, I’m going to show you a Nigerian village where men live side by side with crocs which they consider as deities!

Agulu Crocodile Lake

Crocodile attacks are common in rural parts of Africa. These reptiles usually grab their victim and then spin around to subdue and drown them. This is known as the death roll. Despite this vicious history and reality, there’s a community in southeast Nigeria where crocodiles and men live together in harmony.

Agulu is a humble village in Anambra, Nigeria. Unlike other water-dwelling communities, the residents do not engage in extensive fishing. The crocodile-infested lake earned the village a name and reputation, therefore the villagers do not harm its pythons, crocodiles, and turtles. Some people idolize the crocodiles as sacred.

The crocodiles in the lake are regarded as protectors of the indigenous populace during the days of inter-tribal wars. A visitor however must be cautious and the resident chief priest present during any visit. Each February the chief priest hosts a festival for the crocs. While talking to them, he feeds them with life chicken. It’s taboo to kill a crocodile, turtle, or python resident in Agulu lake. If this happens, then the killers would face the wrath of the crocodile.

This unusual man-crocodile relationship has turned the village into a popular tourist attraction.

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