Living with Aussies, I've come to understand that hierdie mense is nie reg where it counts. I says it in the nicest way possible. I mean, who would want to swim with SIX metre salties?! These crocs are a protected species in Australia and have multiplied to a point where the population in the Northern Territory alone numbers 80 000 of the beasts allowed to wander freely. These man-eaters are responsible for several deaths each year, gobbling up not only locals that should know better but also seem to have a particular fondness for the taste of Englishmen who think fishing in secluded quiet creeks is a spot of good fun.
The theme park's 'cage of death' that drops tourists into a crocodile's lair
Without the cage you wouldn't stand a chance swimming with a massive saltwater crocodile. But for brave punters who still want to get cosy with a feisty croc, a new Australian tourist attraction is offering the chance for a close encounter in the safety of a clear acrylic box dubbed the 'cage of death'. Just 4cm of acrylic, a pair of goggles and a swimsuit, will separate thrill-seekers from the jaws of Choppa, a saltwater crocodile.
The cage has no bars, unlike cages used in shark dives, which prevents the reptiles from gripping on but deep teeth scratches are visible on the sides, deterring some hesitant participants. Top End tourists climb into the clear box before being lowered into Choppa's lair. They then spend 15 minutes inside the 9ft high cage and watch Choppa, who lost both front feet while fighting other crocodiles, trying to take a bite out of them.
Close encounter: A tourist dives into a cage partially immersed in a crocodile pen at Crocosaurus Cove in Darwin, Australia. Getting cosy: Choppa the crocodile looks like he's 'affectionately' trying to hug the dare-devil tourist.
The attraction at Crocosaurus Cove in the heart of the city of Darwin in the Northern Territory has been given high marks by adrenaline-junkies. 'This is it!' said self-confessed thrill-seeker Mark Clayton from Darwin after spending 20 minutes face-to-face with the crocodiles. 'I dive with sharks, large rays, moray eels ... but it's not this close. It's exhilarating to get that close to a crocodile of that size.'
Face-to-face: The experience is made even more thrilling for tourists because the cage has no bars
Saltwater crocodiles, known locally as "salties," are the largest crocodile species, with the males growing up to 19.6ft long and weighing up to 2,204lbs. They are found in across Southeast Asia but the highest numbers are found in northern Australia . Michael Scott, who opened the attraction in July, said there was plenty of demand for the £35 thrill. 'In the Northern Territory, the saltwater crocodile is an icon and is part of our life. They are always in the news, either in someone's swimming pool or killing someone's favourite horse,' Mr Scott said.
Hunting for food: Up to two people are allowed in the cage at the one time
The most famous crocodile to be housed at the park is Burt, who starred as the beast that nearly ate Linda Koslowski's character in Crocodile Dundee. Although saltwater crocodiles are dangerous, fatal attacks on humans are rare in Australia with only one or two reported a year. Warning signs are displayed at rivers, lake and beaches in areas inhabited by crocodiles.
Dicing with danger: Swimming face-to-face with a massive saltwater crocodile might not be everyone's idea of fun but thrill-seekers are snapping up Australia's newest tourist attraction
The most recent fatality was reported last month in Queensland when the suspected remains of a British man were found inside a crocodile. Arthur Booker, 62, was last seen checking crab pots on a crocodile-infested river in the state's north.
Hat tip: WH