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Crocodile Caught in Drainpipe!


– Got ‘im. Got ‘im. – [Coyote] Pull him
back, pull him back. We need everybody on this one. Just keep going. Oh my gosh, this is
like a super tug-of-war. This is a big animal. – [Chris] There we
go, one, two, three. (percussive, tribal music) – [Coyote] All stories
have a beginning. This one begins with water. And as we drove across the parched terrain
towards the mountains, the one thing on our minds was whether or not
we would find any. If you were to guess,
I bet you would say the landscape looks like Africa. But believe it or not, this is the dry season in
north-western Costa Rica. And on this adventure,
the team and I are heading out into the
Palo Verde National Park to search for
American Crocodiles. Leading the expedition
is Doctor Chris Murray. A biologist by degree, he’s
spent the past four years capturing and recording the
giant reptiles of this region to better understand and mediate the human-crocodile conflict. Researching crocodiles
is a dangerous job. So Chris always has with
his life-long friend and reptile wrangler,
Mike Easter. Mike is the snare man. And I’d wager a bet
that he’s snared more crocodiles in
the past five years than almost anyone
else in this field. Trust me, he’s that good. Together these two make up one of the finest crocodile
catch teams in the world. And today, they’re
bringing me into the fray. Alright Chris, so
we’ve been walking for quite some time now
searching for water. No water in sight, but just
a lot of extremely dry earth. So much so, that I’m able to
just break it apart in chunks. At one point in time,
this was a wetland, right? – That’s right. – So where’ve all
the crocodiles gone. – Well a lot of ’em
actually walk about a mile all the way to the
river that’s over there. But a lot of ’em,
we’ve actually found, are right underneath
us, right here. – Buried down in the mud? – Yup, in the mud. So as the waters will recede, they just sit and let the
mud harden overtop of them. And they’re aestivating
underneath this mud. – [Coyote] Okay, now explain
to us what aestivation is. – So aestivation
is when the animals actually sit
undergound, slow down everything that’s
happening internally, and wait out the arid
environment until
the rains return. – [Coyote] So right
now we could be sitting on top of crocodiles. – We’re standing on top
of a whole bunch of crocs, all through this landscape. – And they’re waiting for
the rains to come back so that they can emerge
up out of the mud. – In about a month or two. – [Coyote] In order to
properly conduct your research, you have to find the crocodiles and I don’t imagine you’re gonna dig down into the
dirt after ’em. – [Chris] Nope. – So how do we find ’em? – We’re gonna have to find
what water still remains. – [Coyote] Okay. So the search for
water continues. The best way to cover ground
at Palo Verde is by SUV. And while the goal was
to find crocodiles, the odds were definitely
stacked against us, as after three
hours of searching, we found nothing but a
small stagnant puddle, and the sun-baked remains
of a fallen giant. – It’s windy, there’s no water. It’s really hot. Finding crocodiles is
gonna be a big challenge. – [Cameraman] So you, what
do you think of our chances? – To be honest, I think we, I think we came
at the wrong time. Yeah, this is, this, there’s
like an extended drought, so, we may have missed
our opportunity for a croc here in Costa Rica. – [Coyote] So with the
sun high in the sky, and the heat literally
cooking us alive, we decided it was best that
we returned to base camp. Taking an alternate rout back, we came upon a pair
of drainage pipes in a low spot that
still held some water. – Oh, there’s some water. – Ooh, look at that. That’s a tiny puddle, but
would that work Chris? Maybe something in that? Not exactly a wetland sanctuary,
but it was worth a stop. There’s a tiny bit of water. – Yeah, there’s crocs in there. – No way. – Yeah look down in there Mike. – Let me look. – Way down there
I can see scales. – Oh you’re right I see a tail. Wow. Okay. So we
have been searching and searching and searching. Finally, I mean look at
this pocket of water. I mean this is nothing more
than a couple inches deep. Can you tell how big
the crocodiles are? – The scoots look big, I
think we need a better look. – Wow, okay, so
there are definitely crocodiles inside of
this drainage pipe. Now it’s just a matter of
gettin’ them out of there. That’s gonna be a challenge. – That’s the challenge. – [Coyote] Alright,
let’s do this. – [Mike] What do they look
like over there, guys? If you look in the pipe, I think they’re probably seven feet in. How long is this
pipe, you think? 40 feet? – [Cameraman] You’re gonna
have to crawl in there. – Yeah I am. – [Coyote] Both pipes
had crocodiles in them. So Chris and Mike carefully
analyzed the situation and began to prep their gear. – Test the snare. How’s that? – [Mike] That’s good. – Good? That’ll go around
its top jaw. Perfect. – Alright Mike, Duct tape,
we’re gonna use these needles. Those are heparinized and
we’ll stick em right in here. All the blood will go
in these vacuu-tainers. Alright, so we’ll keep
those out with us. Measuring tape’s here. Bagged rescutes are here, and all the writing
implements are up in the top. – [Chris] Got the book? – Yeah, the book’s
right here in orange, all the writing
stuff’s right here. – [Cameraman] You guys ready? – Yeah man, let’s do this. – [Coyote] Ultimately,
it was determined that the croc on
the right would be the easiest to catch first. – Alright so right
now we’re just trying to scare these animals
to the other end of the pipe where
Mike can snare ’em. We’re having trouble ’cause they know it’s obviously
really nice in there and we’re not in there, so. – [Coyote] Using a
simple scare tactic, Chris was able to
clump was able to clump together
soft balls of mud, which he tossed into the pipe, creating splashes that scared
the crocodile out the far end and right into Mike’s snare. – Got ‘im! Got ‘im. – [Coyote] Look at
that. Nice snare Mike. Look at that, that is the
American Crocodile right there. What an effort to get
him out of that pipe. – Good job, good job. – [Coyote] We work quickly to
record the animal’s length. – [Chris] 121 centimeters. – [Coyote] And Chris
pulled a blood sample. Just like gettin’ a little booster shot at
the Doctor, right? – [Chris] Exactly right. – [Coyote] It was
important to put as little stress on the
crocodile as possible, and in a matter of minutes, it was released
back into the wild. Now onto the other one. However, this croc was
significantly larger, and tucked in the drain pipe that wasn’t nearly
as accessible. – Is there any way you
can see in the pipe what’s moving right now? – [Cameraman] I’ll try. – [Chris] Any movement at all? – I would probably normally go right into this drainage pipe, But Chris says that
is way too dangerous because if I do, – [Chris] Mike? – those crocodiles
may ambush me. – [Chris] We have
a lot of crocodiles
down near you already. – Okay, so that means he’s
only gonna go your way. – Yeah and he’s
bitin’ the stick. – Okay. As long as the
stick and not your hand. – Okay, so what
we’re gonna do is completely reverse our scenario. Chris is gonna
come on this side, we’re gonna try to flush the
crocodiles out the other end. The biggest one, obviously,
can’t turn around in the pipe, so we’re gonna cry to coax
him in the other direction and snare his snout
from the other end. We’re not givin’ up. If you thought
snaring a crocodile out in the open was dangerous, imagine doing it from
inside a drain pipe. – [Cameraman] Alright Mike,
tell me what you’re doing. – Alright, so I’m
gonna head in there and my hope is that… – [Cameraman] Wait,
you’re going in there? – Yeah. – [Cameraman] Okay. – I’m going in there
and my hope is that the crocodile continues
to face forward and I can slip this
right over the snout. We’re just trying
to get these crocs by any means necessary
at this point, keeping the crocs and
ourselves safe, so. Can’t stop trying. – With that said, Mike Easter looked
danger in the face and climbed head-first
into the pipe. This is like that
game of operation, only, big teeth
and a lot of power. My role was to
shine the crocodile with a flashlight so
Mike could see it, which Chris splashed
water on the far end to coax it toward the snare. Alright, so if Mike does
snare the largest crocodile, it’s gonna take both
of us to be able to pull it out of the pipe. So I’ll have to
run back to there, grab the rope, and
help him pull it out. Alright, Mike is now
moving even further. – [Cameraman] Mike is all
the way in the pipe now. – We’re all the way in the pipe. – We all held in silence as the master snaresman
worked his magic. Okay, so mike is gettin’
further into the pipe. The largest
crocodile is actually coming towards us right now, which exactly what we want. And then, it happened. – Got ‘im. Got ‘im. – [Coyote] Pull him
back, pull him back. We need everybody on this one. Just keep going. Oh my gosh this is like
a super tug-of-war. This is a big animal. – [Chris] There we
go, one, two, three. Back up, back up. One, two, three. – That is how you catch
an American Crocodile out of a drainage pipe. Wow. – We need more rolls. – I know. Holy cow. – [Mike] I’m not hungry
anymore, I just ate some dirt. – Yeah, you got a little
mud on your face, Mike. This crocodile still has a
lot of energy left in it. Mike’s covered in mud. Alright, so what Chris
is doin’ right now, is we gotta get a towel over
the eyes of the crocodile so we can keep it calmed down. Then we’re both gonna
jump right on its back. – One, two, three. – [Mike] Perfect. Just be cool, it
might have some fight. Get the back legs up. – Get those legs up Coyote. Get ’em up over your calves. – Alright, both back
legs are secure. This is the croc that
we have been after all day in that drainage pipe. It is the biggest one
that was in there. Look on the scutes on
the back of this tail. This is a big animal. Alright, so right
now, chris is using all of his body weight to keep
the animal locked in place. Mike is now secured the
jaws with electrical tape. I’ve got the back legs and
part of the tail under control, but this animal could erupt
in power at any second. Still a lot of fight
left in this beast. – Alright I’m gonna sit up. – Okay. Good? Wow. – [Cameraman] Great
work guys. Wow. – That’s a big crocodile. Following protocol,
we worked as a team to record the crocodile’s
length from snout to tail tip. – Alright, we are three
meters on the dot. – Nice. I verified the animal’s gender. That is a female. And then Chris
carefully extracted the always important
blood sample which, when taken
back to the lab, will provide him with
vital hormone data for his ongoing research. Definitely intimidating to
sin on an animal of this size. And right now she’s
being completely calm, but I can’t lose
focus at any point because she’s actually
building her energy back up. So, you know, it
doesn’t look like it, but I am holding on as
tight as I can right now to make sure that she doesn’t
thrash her body around and throw me off. We have searched all
day for any water that may possibly
have crocodiles in it, and lo and behold, right here, in these drainage pipes, is where we found the
Americarn Crocodile. I’m Coyote Peterson.
Be brave. Stay wild. We’ll see you on
the next adventure. With the data collected, we carefully moved
this ancient reptile back toward the deeper water. Removed the tape from its snout and watched as she
burst into the water and disappeared
back into the pipe. Alright. – We did it. Ultimately, mission
accomplished. – Mission accomplished. – Mission accomplished. Alright, now it’s time to go, get washed up and
get some dinner. The American Crocodile hails
as one of the greatest relics to call this planet home. And to this day, they have
survived even the dinosaurs. Their struggle for survival is battled with
incredible instinct. And whether buried
beneath the cracked earth, or hidden in a drain pipe, these reptiles continue
to defy the odds. When it comes to Chris and Mike, their work is never done. Because eventually
the rains will return, and when they do, there will always be a
next crocodile to catch. If you thought this
adventure was epic, make sure to go back
and watch our expedition deep into the heart
of the rainforest. Where I managed to find and
capture the elusive water nole. And don’t forget to subscribe
to join me and the crew on this season of
Breaking Trail. He’s being completely
limp in my hand, because he wants me to
think that he’s dead. He’s not. Trust me. At any second, he could go blop. Just like that, and
launch off of my hand.

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