Image shows Babiya, the famed crocodile of Anantha Padmanabha Swamy temple in Kerala’s Kasaragod, who died recently.
Link to the post can be seen here.
A Google reverse image search on the viral image along with the keyword “crocodile” led us to a Facebook post, dated December 6, 2017, by @copal.org, an environment conservation organisation. Displaying the viral photograph, the post elaborated on a “unique friendship” between a man and a crocodile. Adding, “nicknamed Chito, Gilberto Shedden, a Costa Rican fisherman and naturalist has had an unusual friend: Pocho, the crocodile..”
The post further states that Shedden had spotted a wounded crocodile on the banks of the Central American state’s Parismina river in 1991 and nursed him back to health. It then goes on to chronicle the evolution of their “unique friendship.”
In addition to the viral image, the post features multiple other photographs showing the human-crocodile bond.
Following this, we conducted a keyword search for “Chito, “Pocho,” & “Costa Rica” on YouTube which yielded multiple videos of the crocodile and the man. A video titled ‘The Man Who Swims With Crocodiles Chito and Pocho Unbelievable but true,’ uploaded by Sunshy on July 27, 2014 showcased what appears to be a Nat Geo Wild documentary (watermark of the network is seen) on the duo.
At the counters of 20:55 minutes we were able to spot the viral visual claiming to show Babiya.
Furthermore, a Google search for “National Geographic documentary on crocodile and man friendship,” led us to a Wikipedia page of ‘Pocho (crocodile),’ which mentioned about a 2013 documentary called “Touching the Dragon.”
As per IMDb the documentary is about “Pocho was a Costa Rican crocodile who was saved by a local fisherman and then stayed with him twenty years.”
Over the years several news outlets have reported and documented the unique bond between a man and a crocodile. Pocho, however, died in 2011.
We could thus conclude that the viral image does not show Babiya, the ‘mystic’ crocodile of Anantha Padmanabha Swamy temple in Kerala.
Facebook Post By @copal.org, Dated December 6, 2017
YouTube Video By Sunshy, Dated July 27, 2014
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