Thursday, 19 May 2016

Where Captain Hook Went Wrong.

I read a news report today about a 72-year-old Australian man – out fishing in a small boat on a creek in Northern Territory (why do they do it?) – who escaped an attack by a salt water crocodile. Apparently, he fought off the reptile with a spanner and some spark plugs. According to the report he hit the croc on the head with the spanner, but it didn’t say what he did with the spark plugs. Neither did it say how he managed to subsequently escape to a mangrove swamp with a salt water crocodile in the near vicinity, nor why the croc didn’t follow him in there since mangrove swamps are one of its favourite habitats. And yet the poor guy’s ordeal lasted three hours. Mmm…

OK, let’s have a few facts about the SWC:

1. It’s big. Adult males average about 16ft in length, but they can grow quite a bit bigger.

2. It has the strongest bite of any known animal, being able to crush a cow’s head in one go.

3. It’s the most aggressive of all the crocodile species. I think that probably means it doesn’t give up easily.

4. It’s the apex predator of all apex predators. In Asia, even leopards and tigers avoid the reptile’s habitats because they know they’ll lose.

5. Salt water crocodiles eat sharks.

So, tall tale or true? You decide.

I remember my geography teacher at school telling us how to handle a crocodile attack. He said that although its bite strength is enormous, the muscles that open the mouth are quite weak, so all you have to do is tape its mouth shut. Simple. He didn’t, however, tell us what you do next. Maybe you settle down and sing a lullaby until the croc falls asleep, and then tiptoe quietly away and hope the alarm clock doesn’t go off. He also omitted to mention either spanners or spark plugs, which just serves to demonstrate the inadequacy of the education system.

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