Crocodiles in the Desert

Under normal circumstances you wouldn't take a dip in a pond knowing Nile crocodiles are about. For villagers in southern Mauritania near where these isolated and rare pockets of 'desert crocs' exist, however, they believe there's an almost mythical bond of trust with the creatures, whom they consider sacred. The same immunity from attacks seems to apply to domestic animals as well, who reportedly sip from the water unimpeded.

Smaller in size – nearly a third the length of the average Nile crocodile – these crocs they live far from any permanent water source, essentially on the edge of the Sahara. The less it rains, the more they estivate, basically a reptilian version of hibernation. Numbers are difficult to come by, in part because of the area's remoteness, and in part because they possibly move from one wetland to another. Over sandy dunes. That, no doubt would seem like a legitimate full-on desert mirage.