The Eastern New Mexico News - Serving Clovis, Portales and the Surrounding Communities

By Jim Lee 

New Mexico wetlands are more alive than you rhink


My wife Saundra suggested I write about the little-known wildlife native to the vast New Mexico wetlands. I suspect she offered this advice simply to hear the response of our friend who happens to be a retired biology professor and an expert in New Mexico wildlife. I won’t mention Dr. Tony Gennaro’s name, but I wonder if this person, his wife Marjorie, and Saundra have conspired to trick me into this.

Anyone who dares to assume I can be so easily tricked underestimates my cleverness and overestimates my gullibility. After all, I don’t have to be paranoid to realize everyone is plotting against me. Consequently, I did extensive research and completed more than one exhausting field trip prior to writing this material.

At first I assumed the area was a rather meager floodplain of the Pecos River. Then I discovered the New Mexico wetlands cover far more area than I was led to believe. The region actually exceeds the formidable size of the Bayou Desert covering much of Louisiana. They didn’t have me fooled for long.

A rare animal lives in this huge, swampy area. Unfortunate indeed is the person who encounters this endangered species, because the species it meets also becomes endangered. This vicious beast is known by many names, depending upon the culture naming it. The closest English language equivalent of these names is the Incredible Two-headed Crocogator, scientific name: Crocodilus disgusticus. For convenience herein, we will refer to it simply as the crocogator.

The largest one recorded is slightly over nine feet long, but nobody really knows how large this carnivore gets or how long it lives. It has a large mouth with long, serrated teeth. Of course it is an expert swimmer, but it is also unexpectedly agile on land. It runs equally fast forward or backward because it actually has no forward or backward. Amazingly, it has a head on each end instead of the conventional tail common to all other crocodilians (crocodiles, alligators, caymans, and gavials). When hungry or angry or alarmed, it bites both coming and going.

Do not approach this animal in the wild. Do not run toward it because it will regard this as aggression and feel it necessary to defend itself. Do not run away from it because this signals available prey. Do not stand still because this signals defiance of its powers and really ticks it off. Do not race up a tree because, unlike similar species, it can climb trees faster than a turbo-charged monkey, its entire body being prehensile.

Simply back away very slowly while singing the Bulgarian national anthem. Since the crocogator has no idea what the anthem is supposed to be like, something it has in common with most humans, it will ponder the piece until the intruder is out of sight and out of mind.

So there, I do know about this critter after all. From now on the previously mentioned committee out to get me will no longer have this ploy in its arsenal. As soon as I am released from this straight jacket, I plan to write about the computer chip in Charles Darwin’s hat band. Now that will show them all up, heh-heh-heh.

Jim Lee is news director for KENW-FM radio. He also is an English instructor. He can be contacted at 359-2204. His e-mail:

[email protected]


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