Disturbing video of wild crocodile stunt prompts warning over 'dumb' Aussie trend

According to one croc wrangler, the young fresh water animal was 'clearly scared' as the man appeared to try and pick it up.

Video of a man repeatedly pulling a freshwater crocodile's tail has been uploaded to social media. Source: Instagram
Video of a man repeatedly pulling a freshwater crocodile's tail has been uploaded to social media. Source: Instagram

Footage of a man pulling at the tail of a “timid” crocodile in an Australian creek has sparked uproar after it was shared to an Instagram account which glorifies “bogan” behaviour. The unsettling clip has prompted concern for the "scared" reptile as wildlife authorities look into the origin of the video.

At the beginning of the 43 second clip a man in a singlet and thongs calls out to a woman filming: "You got this?" he says. He then wades into the water and pulls at the animal's tail several times.

His mate then steps in front of the camera and gives a big thumbs up, and the pair pose with the crocodile. "Welcome to Australia," he says, prompting two women behind the camera to giggle.

After reviewing the clip, professional crocodile wrangler Tommy Hayes said he felt sorry for the animal, who appeared to want no part of the attention.

“The poor little bugger – it’s clearly scared. With freshies all they want to do is get away,” he told Yahoo News from the Northern Territory. “You’re very lucky to get that close to one, so why make it a traumatic experience for it? It’s definitely a welfare issue.”

Freshwater attacks on humans are extremely rare, but if cornered they can inflict a defensive bite.

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Some have hypothesised the crocodile may have been caught between two rocks and the man was trying to help it. But Hayes has warned even if that was the case, moving crocodiles needs to be left to the professionals as it can result in injury to the animal or the rescuer – just like with snakes and koalas.

He concedes men will always take part in ridiculous stunts, but filming them only encourages others to do the same, and so he thinks it’s time for Australia to stop laughing off such acts as “boys will be boys” behaviour.

“The encouragement of ridiculous stunts is as old as bloody time. But now everything is about getting a reaction and the greatest currency on Earth right now is attention,” he said.

“I don’t think people are doing more dumb sh**, I think it’s being filmed and put up. At the end of the day what are they gaining? Okay you got 40,000 views, so what?”

It’s believed the footage was likely shot in the Northern Territory. While the man is wearing a singlet with the logo of a Darwin-based concreting company, its owner told Yahoo News he doesn’t know the man.

The Sydney-based woman who originally uploaded the video to TikTok, before it was copied and shared by the self-described bogan account to Instagram, was contacted for comment from Yahoo.

In a series of typed messages she requested the video not be attributed to her. "I was only taking the video mate nothing to do with me," she claimed.

Queensland authorities investigated the video but they found no evidence it was filmed in that state.

In the NT it’s illegal to “interfere” with a crocodile without a permit and doing so can attract fines, but it remains unclear what the circumstances of the stunt were.

Many have condemned the video on Instagram. Several posted comments like; “F*** it's embarrassing being from Australia sometimes”.

Others mocked him for pulling the tail of a docile freshwater crocodile. “Wow freshie! What a big man,” someone quipped. “Grab the other end,” another dared.

Paul Bowen who runs a crocodile advocacy social media page Croc Conscious called for more education about wildlife protection, and warned handling wild animals can be dangerous.

“Just because this animal isn't a Saltwater Crocodile doesn't mean it can't injure you, it will bite you and defend itself causing serious injury,” he said.

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