Are you often out for a natural river, pool or lake swimming, fishing, show line camping or any other activity that would take you to or near river and lake waters? You may want to read on, and find out exactly what to do once you encounter a crocodile, before taking a selfie.
Crocodiles can be comfortably placed on top of the list as world’s deadliest predators, responsible for over 2000 human deaths per year, far more than tigers, lions and sharks. Actually on average, crocodiles kill more people in the world than the latter combined!
For juniors, predators are animals which kill humans as a way of nutrition or simply put, to put a meal on their jungle tables.
Predators are popularly known and feared worldwide, including in areas where they have never come close to existing. Who doesn’t fear Tigers any way? A simple fact is tigers have never lived in Africa. If you are on Safari in Africa and spot a Tiger in the wild, and not in zoos, write about it, call the media for a statement and keep the photos for future generation references. It’s that rare.
Back to our lovely, dangerous crocs.
Now, these are animals you don’t want to have a bad encounter with, on any of your days whether good or bad. A person ready to commit suicide would still run away from the thought of being thrown in to a crocodile pool, trust me.
The following are simple facts about crocodiles:
- Crocs are large reptiles found in tropical regions of Africa, Asia, the Americas and Australia.
- They are members of the order Crocodilia, which also includes caimans, gharials and alligators.
- There are 13 species of crocodiles, coming in different sizes.
- The smallest crocodile is the dwarf crocodile. It grows to about 5.6 feet (1.7 meters) in length and weighs 13 to 15 pounds (6 to 7 kilograms).
- The largest crocodile is the saltwater crocodile. The largest one ever found was 20.24 feet (6.17 m) long. They can weigh up to 2,000 pounds (907 kg).
- Crocodiles display increased aggressiveness during the mating season, which is linked to the monsoon.
- Each crocodile jaw has 24 teeth that are meant to grasp and crush, not chew.
- They swallow stones that grind food inside their stomachs, and also act as ballast.
So what are you supposed to do when you accidentally encounter these deadly yet beautiful creatures?
Staring at their beauty while taking quality photos or selfies would be a great idea, while it lasts.
The first precaution is staying away from rivers and lakes with crocodiles. Yes, it pays handsomely to do so. Protected areas and administration in rivers infested with crocodiles are advised to put warning posters around these areas.
When walking near river banks or lake shows, watch out. Crocodiles can hide themselves very well in water, often keeping only their eyes and nostrils above water or submerging entirely. Do not dangle arms or legs off a boat into the water nor walk too close to rivers or lakes.
You should also avoid thick vegetation that provides these animals with good cover.
Keep your distance! Once you’ve spotted them, give crocodiles their space. Fifteen feet is usually ample on land, but during mating season, or when near babies, it’s a good idea to stay even farther away. Crocodiles are surprisingly fast – especially in water – so stay as far away as possible.
Avoid surprises! Yes, this could save your life as Crocodiles hate surprises, unless they are the ones giving them to their prey. Crocodiles or alligators basking on the shore may attack in self-defense if you surprise them. Also crocodiles rely on surprise element to capture their prey, you don’t want to be one.
Take off! The land speed record for a crocodile is about 10 miles per hour, and they quickly grow tired – so a fit person should be able to outrun it without too much difficulty. If you are not fit enough to outrun 10 miles per hour, don’t mind, just keep your adrenaline in check, you will be surprised!
If attacked, go directly for the eyes, nostrils and throat! The eyes are the most sensitive part though. Try to hit or poke the eyes with whatever you have handy: an oar, a stick, or a knife – even your hands. While not as sensitive as the eyes, the nostrils and ears can also be effectively attacked. A hard blow or a cut to either of these areas may cause the animal to release you. Crocodiles have a flap of tissue behind the tongue that covers their throats when they submerge in water. This flap prevents water from flowing into their throats and stops the crocodile from drowning when its mouth is open. If your arm or leg is stuck in a crocodile’s mouth, you may be able to pry this valve down. Water will then flow into the crocodile’s throat, and animal will most likely let you go.
The last resort is always to seek medical attention. You don’t want to take any chances here, owing to the fact that crocodile’s mouth houses millions of bacteria, and infection is almost guaranteed if a bite is not treated promptly.
Sometimes the crocodile would only take one quick defensive bite and leave. In some cases, it’s the one bite that matters to a human’s life. If the teeth take a good hold of you, you are minced meat.
Besides, they can feed a wide variety of fish, birds and other animals. You don’t have to force your way down their list of prey, just keep your distance and stay safe, they can do without you, basically.
So the next time you go out swimming in a local river or lake show, ensure the crocodile is at a safe distance, and is aware you are watching it, before taking out your selfie stick.