Babiya, a crocodile that lived at Sri Ananthapadmanabha Swamy Temple lake in Kasaragod district of Kerala, was found dead on October 9, 2022. The crocodile was thought to be 75 years old, who subsisted on ‘prasadam’ made at the temple, earning the nickname “vegetarian crocodile”.
In the above context, an image of a man sitting close to a crocodile has gone viral on social media claiming that it shows Babiya.
The image is shared with a caption: “Saddened to hear that divine crocodile Babiya, which was guarding Sri Anantapura Lake Temple in #Kasaragod of Kerala, is no more.!! Vegetarian Babiya lived in temple lake for the last 70+ years by eating the Prasadam of Sri Ananthapadmanabha Swamy.”
The link to the post can be seen here.
NewsMobile did the fact-check, and found it to be misleading.
Through a Google Reverse Image Search, we found the same picture published by a website Little Things, dated June 20, 2015.
The report reads: “Nearly 20 years ago, a giant crocodile was shot by a farmer and lay dying on the banks of the Parasmina river in Costa Rica. But then, something incredible happened. A kind local man named Chito Shedden stumbled upon the starving, suffering croc. Little did he know, that was the day he’d become the crocodile’s caretaker, guardian angel, and best friend. Chico couldn’t bear to let the crocodile die. He named him Pocho, and dedicated himself to nursing the poor animal back to health.”
Another video uploaded on YouTube, dated November 26, 2021, has a scene similar to the viral image. The video is shared with a caption: “Crocodile sees it’s adoptive dad after years.”
Also, the summary of a documentary that covers the story of Pocho reads: “Pocho was a Costa Rican crocodile who was saved by a local fisherman and then stayed with him for 20 years. The 2013 documentary Touching the Dragon details their relationship.”
Hence, we can ascertain that the viral image is from Costa Rica and not India. We also found a BBC report that suggests that Pocho died in 2014. Thus, the viral claim is misleading.
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