Photographer Narrowly Avoids the Jaws of a Hungry Crocodile

Here’s a pro tip: if you ever find yourself with a strong desire to photograph crocodiles in their natural habitat, don’t do it like the photographer in the video above (warning: it contains a bit of strong language).

It was shot by a man named David Clow on March 18, 2013 in Rio Tarcoles, Costa Rica. Clow’s friend Antonio Ruiz was photographing crocodiles up close with his DSLR while others tossed chunks of meat into the water. The problem was, Ruiz positioned himself right on the edge of the river rather than at the relatively safe distance everyone else was standing at.


The location is named “Crocodile Bridge,” so the water was teeming with crocs. After snapping some photographs of the creatures battling over the free food, Ruiz had an experience he will probably never forget. He just narrowly avoided a lunge by a hungry crocodile, coming inches from becoming its next meal.

Clow writes that Ruiz is simply a daredevil photographer — not a dumb one:

It is called living on the edge, not being dumb. It is called guts, not stupidity. Not everyone can afford a huge lens, eh. My friend, Antonio, may have a death wish, and he may be a little crazy, but he is not stupid. He is a hard dude. I wanted to be down there. Like he says in the video, everyone made it worse yelling. He knows how to behave around them. Try not to be too mean, people. Everyone has a heart, and the most fragile ones, the ones on the edge, are easily broken.

Thankfully, it’s a story with a happy ending. Ruiz escaped with close-up photos and a crazy experience, and Clow walked away with a video that’s now going viral across the web.

Update: Here’s an online photo album with photographs of the crocodiles.

Thanks for sending in the tip, Malcolm!

  • vivanteco

    Almost got himself a Darwin award!

  • Fullframeboy

    Darwin in action right there.

  • Eziz

    Almost lost his cojones there!

  • Leo

    Crazy. I don’t think the photog’s name is “Rio Tarcoles” though. His name is Antonio Ruiz. Rio Tarcoles is the name of the river.

  • Jim Wilson

    Antonio, you crazy!

  • Hanselbeck

    Right, Tarcoles is the name of the river (chek out on Wikipedia).

  • meh

    I wanna see the pictures that he took.

  • TheMessengerImage

    I want to see some of the images he got!

  • Ariel Caudis

    What about zoom?

  • Jonathan Maniago

    “It is called living on the edge, not being dumb. It is called guts, not stupidity.”

    We beg to differ.

  • Miamor

    world could become a better place if this idiot would be eaten

  • Leonardo Abreu

    Natural selection

  • Samcornwell

    If they hadn’t have been screaming at him the whole time he might have actually got a decent shot.

  • tiredofit123

    With all those tattoos I thought he was wearing camouflage…..

  • Happy_Tinfoil_Cat

    Keep both eyes open; looking through the viewfinder gives you tunnel vision. Don’t bring friends, family, or girlfriends on this kind of shoot. They kept distracting him.

  • Анти Пирия


  • Jason Brown

    Definite Darwin Award nominee!

  • Joshua Tobias George Barrett

    “If Your Pictures Aren’t Good Enough, You’re Not Close Enough.”

  • B

    “Not everyone can afford a huge lens, eh.” He then has a pretty big kit lens… Looks like a 24-70/2.8

  • dennis

    anyhow you say it, it’s still stupidity…

  • Tracey Easter

    what got me was the foreign accent “holy shiot” ahahhahahaha

  • Rūdolfs Rancāns

    I’m no crocodile expert, but I’m pretty sure that you shouldn’t take your eyes away from these beautiful creatures. So I don’t think he’s that smart…

  • Evan Skuthorpe

    A sad day for the human race when a man like that isn’t eaten. I pity the gene pool…

  • David

    This post needs pics

  • Terry Clark

    Not everyone can afford a big lens… after spending thousands of dollars on tattoos. What a tool.

  • Jason Hodges

    SO! A: everyone in the video is yelling out the name ANTONIO, B: the link is the the website of Antonio Ruiz but the author Michael Zhang still thinks the fools name is Rio Tarcoles?? Did Michael Zhang even watch the video or look at the link?? Maybe he just thinks that Antonio really just needs a cool name like “Rio”.

  • Guest

    “Not everyone can afford a huge lens.”

    I bet his health insurence is going to be ultra affordable once they see this.

  • Michael Zhang

    Thanks for catching that :)

  • Matt Collins

    If the man wants to sit that close to crocodiles and take photographs good for him!,
    its his life and he is doing what he wants with it,why so much hate?
    personally i would be happy to zoom!
    Antonio,you crazy ass! show the photos please?

  • Matthew Everett

    I say it’s his life; let him live it. Also, as humans we’ve really gotta quit making so much noise. The man was just taking photos of crocodiles from feet away while his friends tossed meat; there was no need for all that yelling.

  • Audrey Smith

    I see several things wrong with this whole situation. His friend says, “He’s not stupid…he knows how to behave around them.” Well, let’s look at his behavior: first, the crocs are being fed. Any wildlife photographer with any ethical priorities is not going to bait or feed their subjects just to get the shot. They put the saftety and needs of the animals first. Also, why would you toss food to a large predator? Especially if you are sitting on the bank of the river? I would love to see him try that with polar bears or a pride of lions, and see if he walks away from that one. Second, he looks away from the animals. One of the first things you learn when working around large animals is to keep your eyes on them at all times. This guy needs to reprioritize and have a lot more respect for what he is photographing. If he thinks he has a “daredevil attitude,” then nature will one day show him how small he really is. There is a lot more to say here, but let me just say that the increasing level of disrespect on the part of fellow “wildlife photographers” is infuriating.

  • Tobias Weisserth

    No, this is not about not owning a long lens or having guts or living on the edge. This is just plain stupid. More idiotic stunts like this and he can get himself a Darwin award.

  • Zoologist_Extraordinaire

    He could’ve rented a lens.

  • Andrea Brooks

    Maybe if his idiot friends hadn’t been distracting him, he would have had more time to react to the crocodile sneaking up next to him.

  • Homey

    yeah like all NatGeo Photographers do that lol no pain no gain yes i know that im a photographer by profession but i use my head and gut to get the shot not with stupidity.

  • Max

    When people such as this photographer, who put themselves in HARMS WAY and do not become a victim. That experience should wake him up to the fact that eventually he will be a victim, trying a stunt that he did was I believe is a stupid way of gaining fame.
    Lets hope he and others learned a lesson of HARMS WAY. that is what I believe [m.n.]

  • Ariel Caudis

    Yes, i know but we are talking about crocs not kitties

  • Andres

    While living in Costa Rica I went to that bridge many times to observe the crocodiles, their behavior and the river and river banks. No need to have a long lens to get good closeups.

    But this situation was a disaster waiting to happen. He was in an area with long green slippery grass and with a steep inclination towards the water, also he was distracted by people yelling at him to get out of there, and looking the other way at a critical time, one slip on that long grass and the crock would have gotten him.

    So maybe he’s not stupid, but looking at this video you can tell he made a stupid choice (with a happy ending).

  • Danny

    Not even impressed with the images he was able to get…

  • Mers Pro

    The difference between stupidity and genius is that genius has its limits.

  • Renato Murakami

    We are all watching the video and commenting about it, despite not being that impressive being edited to add some artificial drama to it with dubstep on the background, some funky cuts, plus the stupid defensive friend comment saying how this wasn’t dumb.
    I’d say he was successful, even though the images were not that good. For his sake, it’s best for him to admit that what he did was stupid indeed. Not “guts”, not being a “hard man”. So what if this was dumb? We’re all subject of doing some dumb stuff at times. But if you don’t learn from it, it’s worthless.
    You don’t go on a grass slope hard to get out of in dangerous situations, you don’t feed crocs while shooting them from such a distance, and no matter how much people and friends keep shouting at you, when crocs are coming your way you keep an eye on them. He was just lucky not to loose an arm or worse, this is why this was a dumb thing to do.

  • Jim Dawkins

    Looks like a nice place to take a dip.

  • Phase19


  • jay

    The Wildlife Photographer of the Year 2013!

  • Joan McKniff

    feeding wild animals trains them to equate humans with food and makes then more dangerous to all humans, scientists, someone who falls into the water et al. It is also bad for the animals and the environment. It is selfish and stupid.

  • Warren

    There was people there that thought he was being an idiot and also all the people that now watch this clip (and those that are commenting) also agree, he is an idiot. He was lucky that he got out of that alive and stupid for being in that situation in the first place and ignoring the advice of others at the time. Did I see a good shot with his short lens? No, I just saw an idiot.

  • Warren

    Oh and BTW, camouflage paint will not deter an 18 foot crock.

  • PhillyOC

    This is how God culls the stupid.

  • ripley

    There are a couple of precautions he could have used, such as appropriate clothing and having 2 or 3 calm people as watchers, instead of a group of screamers. If this guy wants to get close then I don’t see the issue; why use a zoom lens when you don’t need one?

  • ScottnLaguna

    An-toooooooonio! He finally gets mad turns around and talks with his hand, and then it was almost like battle at Kruger. Awesome.