Magical Crocodiles of Burkina Faso

MagicCroc03Humans and crocodiles living side by side in the African countries of Burkina Faso and Ghana? For 600+ years, this magical relationship has endured and countless tourists have witnessed it. This is a cryptozoological report worthy of investigation!

On the Western side of Africa, in the small country of Burkina Faso, in a small town called Bazoule (just outside the nation’s capital of Ouagodougou), around 100 Nile crocodiles live a peaceful, tranquil life alongside the local villagers.

MagicCrocMapThe story goes that back in the 14th Century then chief Koud Nabu began believing that Nile crocodiles brought with them the Blessing of seasonal rains. These rains were and are vital to the community which would otherwise fall into drought and starvation.

The breathtaking aspect to this story is that the villagers, including children, can be seen swimming in the same water with the crocodiles, doing their laundry along the shoreline, and even playing with the animals.

Part of the arrangement between the villagers and the crocodiles is that the people feed live chickens to the crocodiles as a sort of offering or sacrifice. Photographer Oliver Born, who took some of these photos, said, “It’s not rare to see some children playing just metres away from them – it is quite a magical place.”

MagicCroc02Meanwhile in Ghana

In another instance, just over the border from Burkina Faso in Ghana, the town of Paga hosts their own collection of crocodiles that live side by side with humans. The animals live in Chief’s Pond and they are very docile.

Adding to the mystery, the pond they live in is land-locked, so no one knows how the crocodiles actually got there. Some of the crocodiles are 80 plus years old.

The villagers believe that the souls of their loved ones leave their human bodies upon death and take residence inside one of these crocodiles.  So they revere the crocodiles and the pond.

As in Burkina Faso, the villagers regularly feed the crocodiles live chickens which may explain how these beasts have become “domesticated.”

MagicCroc04Shades of River Monsters

Does anyone remember the episode of River Monsters, when they were either in Africa, or the South Pacific and host Jeremy Wade was learning how to fish by hand-line?  He said that the villagers had a special arrangement with the local sharks who never attacked their villagers, and because he was their guest, he’d be safe too.  I don’t remember any mention of these villagers feeding the sharks.

Interesting. It makes you wonder what kind of “magic” these villagers are practicing.

WalksIntoMordorThe Flip Side

I also can’t help but think how easily this could turn around. One rogue crocodile could kill somebody.

There was another episode of River Monsters – I think it was in Suriname. The large piranhas that normally lived alone and didn’t attack in groups were suddenly found to be attacking anything that moved en masse. The change in their behavior was caused by a change in their environment, the addition of a new environmental stress (new alpha predator in the waters), and the piranhas had to quickly alter their behavior in order to survive.

You never know what can happen in the wild. This arrangement between humans and crocodiles is certainly bizarre. But is it magic, or just plain old animal behavior management at its best?

Til the next time!



  1. Crocs and alligators are cold blooded and don’t like to waste energy if at all possible. They also don’t eat very often. They only attack if they need to feed. Keeping them fed with chickens just keeps their hunger in check and they won’t attack because they aren’t hungry. If the natives stop feeding the crocs things may not be so peaceful. Basically, they’ve made pets out of them!

  2. My husband and I was watching a PBS show almost 5 to 7 years ago and ran across a similar story. I don’t know if they are the same people, but the children and parents were playing in the water with the crocodiles, having fun as if they were family pets. No one was concerned about the crocodiles drowning the children or killing anyone. Why are things so different here? Very fascinated by this story, if you have any additional information, please let me know. I would love to discuss this further.

    • Hi Annette!

      I’m sorry to say I don’t have any additional information about this African situation. One thing did occur to me after reading your comment as to why that doesn’t happen over here in the US. Down South there are quite a few crocodile “farms” and they feed the animals regularly, which probably accounts for their ability to handle and “wrestle” them for the public.

      I suspect feeding the crocs regularly is the magic key to keeping them docile.

      Thank you for visiting CryptoVille! … Susan (CryptoVille)

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