Bazoule Crocodiles: Sacred Crocodiles in Burkina Faso

Bazoule crocodiles are so sacred that the villagers feed, sit, and lie on them. A little live chicken is presented as bait to entice the crocodile out of the water.

Burkina Faso’s Bazoule is a large lakeside community located 30 kilometers from the capital, Ouagadougou. The town has a unique tradition: inhabitants have coexisted peacefully with the local pond’s more than one hundred fierce crocodiles for years. Children bathe, and mothers wash their clothes in the same pond.

Bazoule crocodiles are much smaller and less aggressive than Nile crocodiles. Crocodylus Suchus, often known as West African or desert crocodiles, is a distinct species. They may be found in both woodland and open settings.

These crocodiles, or rather their forefathers, have adapted to the shifting climate of northern Africa, from lush savannahs and grasslands 10,000 years ago to the scorching and parched Sahara today.

Villager luring Bazoule Crocodiles with a live chicken
Villager luring Bazoule Crocodiles with a live chicken

Unlike Nile crocodiles, which favor huge seasonal rivers, the West African crocodile prefers wooded lagoons and marshes. Some of these wetlands only appear after a rainstorm. Crocodiles spend the summer in a state of torpor when the water evaporates. They don’t eat and move as little as possible.

In addition, West African crocodiles are less violent than Nile crocodiles and seldom attack people. Many West African cultures, like the Bazoule, have lived in close proximity to West African crocodiles and, rather than being terrified of them, have revered them.

Crocodiles came from the sky with the rains, according to the Bazoule people, and if crocodiles departed, so would the water.

The village of Sabou in central Western Burkina Faso also has sacred crocodiles. A village named Paga, located just over the Burkina Faso-Ghana border has its own crocodile colony that coexists with people.

Tourists may touch and photograph crocodiles that have been lured out of the water by specially trained guides using live chicken as bait.

Bazoule Crocodiles
Bazoule Crocodiles

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