Is it Possible?
Are you kidding? That was my reaction of my friends to the story of the vegetarian crocodile. Probably you are thinking the same. Let me make it clear. I want you to imagine a situation in which you are in the middle of a pond in the state of Kerala.
You could see a temple nearby with green vegetation around it. Suddenly you noticed two small eyes floating and approaching near you. At once, you understood that it was a giant crocodile. What will you do?
Well, I have the answer, you need to swim and come out, that's it. This croc is vegan!
Meet Babiya, the only vegetarian crocodile in the world.
Let’s explore more about Babiya.
More About Vegan Croc
This crocodile is considered as the guardian of the Ananthapura lake temple. It is in Kasargod district in God’s own country, Kerala. It resides in a lake that surrounds the temple.
Devotees believe that Babiya is the messenger of Padmanabhaswamy, the Hindu God. Locals say that the crocodile has been living there for more than 70 years.
Babiya is a vegetarian crocodile. Unlike the ferocious carnivorous crocodile, it feeds on rice with jaggery and is extremely rare. Surprisingly, it did not cause any harm to the temple priests and devotees.
During the daytime, it stays in a cave at the side of the lake. It is hard to believe that the priests even bath in the same lake every day without any fear. In addition to this, Babiya has an excellent record of not harming anyone until now!
Nobody knows why the crocodile behaves in such a manner in contrast with its instinct. Whatsoever, the locals consider it as a divine crocodile and chant hymns and prayers near the lake.
Babiya’s Menu Card
The crazy diet of the crocodile made it a famous one throughout the internet. This creature feeds on cooked rice mixed with jaggery.
These are temple offerings (prasad) for deity. Temple priests feed it twice a day without any other food. They create ripples in the water with hands to inform Babiya that it’s food time.
At times they even hand feed the croc with dignity and honor. The crocodile causes no harm for fishes and other aquatic life forms in the lake and never preys on them.
Babiya relies on temple offerings as its prime diet and enters the group of veggies.
You may ask how Babiya came there in the lake? What is the cause of its distinct behavior and varied personality?
Now get ready as we go through some stories behind this mysterious croc.
Legend says that,
about 3000 years ago, Sri Divakara Muni Vilwamangalam Swamy, a sage and great devotee of Padmanabha Swamy began meditating to win the favor of his deity Sri Vishnu (Padmanabhaswamy) in a spot near the lake.
Pleased by his faith and meditation, Sri Vishnu decided to test his patience and made himself an incarnation of a little boy. During the meditation of sage, the boy roamed around and began to irritate him. He played pranks on him.
Fed up with his mischief, the sage pushed the boy out. By the time the sage realized that the boy was none other than Sri Padmanabhaswamy, he vanished.
The boy fled from the area and soon disappeared to a nearby cave in Ananthakat, the forest of serpent God. People believe that Babiya guards this cave now.
Another well-known legend is that a British soldier killed a crocodile in the lake about 70 years ago. Unfortunately, he died of a snake bite few days after this incident.
Devotees strongly believe that this was the revenge by Ananthan, the serpent God. Surprisingly, another crocodile appeared in the lake after several days!
That crocodile is the famous vegan Babiya and is 70 years old now! Locals affirm that only one croc resides there at a time. The death of one croc paves the way to another.
There is yet another mysterious incident regarding the presence of Babiya in the water body. Seemingly the most logical one among the three. They say that a circus guy might have put the hatchlings in the lake about 40 years ago. Among them, only one may have survived.
Whatever the case, Babiya is a rare creature with a rarest behavior.
What do Experts Say?
If you are not well versed in this field, you are reading this in awe. But what do experts have to say?
Experts say that Babiya is a mugger crocodile that usually feeds on fishes, small & large mammals like deer and boar in its natural habitat. They are shy animals that spend much time in the dark during the day and come out at night.
Crocodiles are intelligent creatures with fast learning capabilities. It is easier to tame a croc than a dog.
Babiya is so familiar with the temple priests that it will not harm them. Also, it may feed on fish in the lake and eat rice as an added supplement. So there is no concrete proof that it eats rice & jaggery alone.
That Viral Day
On October 20, last year, Babiya entered the temple and became an internet sensation overnight.
It was nighttime when the newly appointed temple priest saw the massive croc crawling near the veranda. The dazed priest took pictures and posted them on social media.
News reporters rushed to the temple area. Many people across the country began visiting the temple to get a glimpse of this croc after that. The priests began to chant prayers with honor and respect in front of the crocodile.
Be a Green Custodian
Crocodiles are one of the threatened species on this planet. They are killed mainly for skin and meat. Skins are used to make shoes, handbags, textiles, jackets, and so on.
Why are we humans after them? Is it because there are no other options? Do we need their life to make our fancy products? Let them live in their habitat with peace.
This earth is not only for us. Each life has a right to live here. We are just a part of this supporting system.
In the present world, the human-animal relationship is as critical as wildlife conservation, especially in areas where a patch of the forest meets with rural villages.
It is the convergence of different life forms that ultimately built a sustainable life.
People in and around the locality treats Babiya with care and affection. They are not intervening in her habitat nor allow anyone to destroy it.
The vegan has the freedom to roam around, explore things nearby without any hidden dangers from evil forces. We are custodians of mother nature. Being the organism with a high level of intelligence, we must work together to protect her.
This croc is a living example that man and wild can live in harmony and peace.
Remember the story of the soldier mentioned before. There is no need to believe in it blindly. Instead, we can extract a meaningful lesson from it.
If we keep on destroying nature, it will strike back at some point in the timeline.
The destruction varies from simple forms of rain or soil erosion to major cyclones, forest fires, earthquakes, flooding, Tsunami, and the list goes on.
We have not inherited this world from our ancestors but borrowed it from our children.
Babiya teaches us an important life lesson.
A universal touch of love and affection can wipe out the wild, bizarre, dangerous characters instilled in us. The pure reflection of love is from the heart. The vegetarian crocodile may lose its identity and transform into a wild beast if mistreated by locals.
Therefore it is the divine power of love that overcomes the wild animal within us.
This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.
© 2021 Mehul Jacob