Barefoot and armed with only half of a chicken, Louis stepped out of the tour boat. A 17-foot Crocodile affectionately named Osama Bin Laden, confident of his supremacy at the top of the food chain, was neglectful of the 30-foot boat as he attended to his anticipated chicken dinner. Again and again Louis slapped the chicken on the water and dangled in front of Osama's nose, but pulled it away as the Croc lunged for it. At one point Louis sat on Osama's back. Water splashed on the boat's awed passengers as Osama swung his tail around and headed for the chicken. After tossing the chicken into the big Croc's gullet, Louis patted him on the nose as is to say, "good performance, Fido." Mrs. Osama (10-12 feet long) and two baby Crocs sunned themselves next to a buried tree trunk 100 yards downstream.
We saw a dozen species of large birds, including the Great Blue, Little Blue, and Green Herons which visit the Iowa River Valley, too. A rare bright pink bird flew parallel to the boat. Iguanas and other lizards approached close enough for photo ops. A "Jesus Christ Lizard" allowed us to take close-ups before showing off its ability to run on the surface of the water, its feet splaying out wildly . A three-toed sloth hung upside down in a neighboring tree. Near the mouth of the river we entered a Mangrove swamp where trees stand on their roots and salt water and fresh water mix. Just 15 mintues down the coast from the swamp there will be an international surfing contest next week. The red flag is out on the beach to warn swimmers of large breakers with heavy undertow currents on the black sand beech. Back at the tour boat dock we step gingerly across a rickety gang plank one at a time and then climb into our massive air conditoined Swedish bus, as if we had just stepped out of the dinosaur age. Louis will go home tonight with all of his fingers and toes. It has been another incredible day.