And it has a lot more meat than the local chicken

Police officers load the lower half of the crocodile in a pickup for transporting after they confiscated it.

Just call it the other white meat. Or perhaps: Croc, it’s what’s for dinner.

Those U.S.-style ad slogans appear to be the reality in the rural areas of the country. That was brought home when frontier police stopped a man on a motorcycle. The cycle was dragging a makeshift cart on which was half a crocodile. Police confiscated the croc half but there was no word where the front portion of the animal is.

The Policía de Fronteras based in Sarapiquí figured that the man had just captured the crock. The police checkpoint was near the Nicaraguan border. The area is teeming with the large animals. They are vulnerable to nets, firearms and even metal hooks.

Officers estimated that the section of the croc weighed in at about 100 kilos, some 220 pounds. Hunting wild creatures like this is illegal in Costa Rica, although the arrest of the man who had the last names of  Ruiz Rivera shows that such hunting for table meat goes on. The cart, which was made in part by bamboo, appears to have been used more than once.

Crocodiles can be found on the table in other countries, and many of the animals are raised for slaughter. Internet sources suggest that much smaller crocodiles, perhaps one weighing 16 kilos, is preferred. The lower back and tail are considered the choice cuts.

There is a debate on the quality of such meat. One source says that crocodile meat is low in fat and  cholesterol, but another says that the cholesterol is higher than in most meats.

“It isn’t for everyone but people’s opinions can vary dramatically, some say its taste is like chicken, crab or even pork!” said the Web site of Kezie Foods, which supplies exotic meats in the United Kingdom.

“Crocodile meat is an exotic meat delicacy around the world and is one of the health meats of the 21st century,” said the South African firm Croc City, which also runs a reptile park. The firm said that crocodile soup is a Chinese  medication for asthma and other respiratory problems.

The firm even has a recipe online for crocodile fillet steaks cooked with lime and lemon grass. It notes that the firm complies with all environmental rules.

The motorcycle driver has even more troubles than losing his dinners. Police said that he lacks a registration for the vehicle and did not have plates on the crude trailer either.

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