The village of Sabou, in Upper Volta, has long had a custom of keeping sacred alligators--to protect the villagers against warring tribes, to bring rain for the crop and a plentiful harvest.
The village of Sabou, in Upper Volta, has long had a custom of keeping sacred alligators--to protect the villagers against warring tribes, to bring rain for the crop and a plentiful harvest. Today, the fifty alligators which live in the local pool, are more of a tourist attraction than a religious symbol -- but they still lead a very good life.
Local Children are so accustomed to the reptiles, that they even wash their clothes in the alligators' pool--or tease the huge animals with branches and stones.
In days gone by, the alligators were fed on sheep and hares-sacrificed in solemn ceremonies by the Village Chiefs. Their meals now are chickens, which the children tie to a string and a dangle before the alligators to make them snap their mighty jaws while trying to catch the morsels.
The alligators, whose powerful tail could break a man's back with a flick, are most playful in their game of "catch the chicken" -- but the local children know that they must keep on their toes not to slip during the feeding, or the game could quickly turn into a tragedy.
Once they have eaten, through, the alligators are almost docile--and the boys can actually hold them by their trails and drag them back into the swamp.