The croc-curious tourist who (just) got away


Crocodiles prove a stubborn exception to comfortably safe modern tourism, as one Israeli traveller in Australia’s Northern territory found out.

“One minute I was leaning over the boat, teasing it for a picture. The next minute it burst out of the water with incredible speed … its jaws fully open.”

This was how Novon Mashiah, an Israeli tourist, described his close encounter with a crocodile on a river in Australia’s Northern Territory.

Others haven’t been so lucky. Chang Po-yu, a vet, had his armed snapped off by a croc in a Taiwan zoo. Fortunately the 17-year-old Nile crocodile spat out the arm, allowing it to be sewn back on. But not before disturbing images of the limb clamped in its jaws were snapped.

Such pictures are horrific but compelling. Our feelings about getting up close with crocs were well understood by the late nature showman Steve Irwin. He controversially fed a chicken to a crocodile while holding his baby son.

If that is not to your taste (and it wasn’t to Germaine Greer’s) how about swimming with crocodiles or playing frisbee with them?

But just remember what they can do to a gazelle, and some of the things that have been recovered from their stomachs.