The small village of Paga, in Ghana, defies the laws of nature as local population bathes and swims in the same nearby pond as over 100 deadly crocodiles. So far none of the villagers have ever been harmed by the reptiles.
Something very weird is definitely going on in the African village of Paga, where people live happily among crocodiles who don’t seem to mind their company, either. It is believed everyone in the village has a corresponding crocodile in Bolgatanga, and according to reliable sources the deaths of important village personalities have coincided with the death of a crocodile. Because they believe crocs are the souls of their village relatives, people never hurt or kill the sacred animals. That’s all very nice, but what’s really bizarre is the crocodiles themselves seem to have developed a strong relationship with their human neighbors and never cause them any harm. Young men go knee-deep into the water to fish, right next to the some of the world’s largest crocodiles, and always come out unharmed.
Legend has it one of the ancient crocodiles of Bolgatanga saved the first man to settle in the area by guiding him to the pond to quench his thirst after a long journey. In return, the man declared Bolgatanga sacred, and told his people the crocs should be treated like royalty. To this day, it is taboo to hurt or kill any of the reptiles. No one seems to know exactly when or how the crocodiles settled in the famous pond of northern Ghana, and most of the locals believe the above mentioned legend, according to which they were there long before man.
The incredible relationship between the people and crocodiles of Paga village have baffled scientists for years and made this place one of Ghana’s most popular tourist attractions. Millions of people from all around the world come here to whiteness this natural miracle firsthand and get closer to the deadly reptiles than they ever thought possible. Trained guides whistle a tune to attract the attention of the crocodile, then wave live chickens to make them come out of the water. As the crocs approach they are rewarded with the chickens, and this prepares them for the most unbelievable part of the Paga Village experience. Tourists can touch, pet and even sit in the backs of these ferocious beasts, while they just sit there instead of tearing the humans limb from limb. It’s the only place in the world where you can get your picture taken holding the tail of a full-grown crocodile while smiling. The crocodiles are harmless and friendly, and even though there haven’t been any reports of anyone getting injured, you still have to be extra careful. They are, after all, unpredictable creatures.
One of the secrets to the friendly relationship between man and the crocs of Bolgatanga pond could be the abundance of food at the disposal of the reptiles. The waters are teeming with fish and frogs, and the villagers regularly offer them a buffet of chickens. It might sound cruel to sacrifice so many birds, but the locals explain they do this because the crocodiles would otherwise be tempted to attack their livestock, enter their homes looking for food, and probably even mistake small babies for lunch. And besides, they feel the crocs earn their feathery meals by attracting so many tourists, every year.
Villagers live in harmony with one of the fiercest creatures on the planet, tourists get to experience something unique, the crocs fill their bellies with tasty treats, it’s a great arrangement for everybody. Well, maybe not the chickens…