Rocky's croc expert says it was a lucky escape from killer
ROCKHAMPTON'S resident crocodile expert John Lever says a croc handler injured in a weekend attack is lucky to be alive.
Ian Jenkins, co-owner of Snakes Downunder Reptile Park at Childers, was trying to get the attention of a saltwater crocodile during a feeding show on Sunday.
The 4m croc latched on to his left hand and pulled him into the water, tearing off his thumb.
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Mr Lever said he knew Mr Jenkins well and he had sourced Macca, the crocodile responsible for the attack, from the Koorana Crocodile Farm about 10 years ago.
He said a lapse of judgement was responsible for the incident.
"Ian is quite the reptile expert ... but these things can happen. It's all to do with the proximity of the croc.
"Part of the show is to get the croc to do a death roll but he would never have envisaged that he would actually be part of it.
"It's the worst scenario you can imagine, your worst nightmare. Fortunately he had people there who had the presence of mind to get the crocodile off him.
"He is very lucky to be alive."
Mr Lever said during his 10 years at Koorana, Macca was never a seriously aggressive crocodile.
Mr Jenkins had been on a croc handling training course at Koorana when he chose him.
"During that time, he could select one of four crocs," Mr Lever said.
"He ended up choosing Macca because of his temperament. He was clearly trainable and no-one had any qualms about being in the pen with him.
"This is a stark reminder to all staff who handle crocodiles that these things can happen in a flash.
"You've got to remember that crocs are not dogs, they're not cats, they are instinctive animals. They have a very tiny brain and when they grab hold of something instinct just takes over."
Mr Lever said he expected Mr Jenkins would continue with the croc shows.
"He loves crocodiles and, quite frankly, he's a very good handler."