Take a quick look.
This paparazzi-style shot may be the only photograph you will see of our latest batch of crocodile hatchlings.
I was heading out the door on my way to Manzanillo Monday morning when two friends excitedly called me to come out to the anadaor. They could see baby crocodiles.
The day before I had found the open nest and the mother crocodile standing sentry. But I saw no babies.
But there they were. At least five -- if not more. Crowded around the shore edge. While they sunned, Mama played the role of life guard. Literally, in this case.
Being a young creature is always difficult. And it is no exception for these scaly reptiles. They are perfect meals for a variety of predators.
When I returned on Monday afternoon, the babies had moved. But I suspected they were nearby. A tree stands a few feet from the hatchlings' beach. And in the tree were three herons.
Remember what I said about baby crocodiles offering a perfect-sized meal? Well, the herons were there to prove I am no liar.
When I went out to the laguna yesterday afternoon, a different type of predator had discovered Mama -- some of the rock-throwing children that plagued last year's hatch. They were throwing stones at her from about ten feet away. And she bore them almost as beatifically as Saint Stephen.
As I write this, there is a young mother with two small children standing on the bank and throwing parts of palm fronds at the crocodile. She just handed several stones for throwing to her children.
This is the point where I remind myself of Steve's Hard-Learned Lessons of the Laguna:
- Crocodiles have lived in the laguna long before I arrived.
- Crocodiles will survive in the laguna long after I am gone.
- The laguna does not belong to me.
- The crocodiles do not belong to me.
- There is nothing I can do to alter the first four rules.
And, if I do spot them, you will be the first to hear about it.