A drone pilot who works as a crocodile feeder at a Western Australia park nearly fed his aircraft to the animals when a crocodile lunged at his drone.
Johani Mamid took the incredible video at the Malcolm Douglas Crocodile Park in Broome last month.
The video shows a number of the animals hiding just beneath some duckweed. But when the drone gets too close, they fling themselves out of the water, jaws wide open.
Mamid says he’s surprised at how aggressively the animals reacted.
Still, we are talking about crocodiles here, Mr. Mamid …
‘”I was pretty confident the crocodiles weren’t going to get the drone but that was a risk I was willing to take,'” he told the Daily Mail Australia.
Mamid is a talented videographer and his whole video is worth a view. But if you’re impatient for the lunging, try 0:44, 0:56, 1:30 and especially 1:41.
Mamid says he’s had a few close calls since starting as a tour guide last year.
“We definitely do fear them because of the level of respect we have for them. They have the strongest bite force out of any animal in the world,” he says. “Their teeth are designed to hold on and never let go.”
Park workers must occasionally check the fencing around the reserve. A two-metre long bamboo stick is their only protection.
“Quite often the crocs will come out and try to attack us,” he says. “We go in pairs and whenever a croc comes near us we just whack them over the head with the bamboo. But sometimes the crocs will take the bamboo stick and then you’re surrounded by like 70 crocodiles. That’s why you go in pairs.”
As part of the visitor experience, the guides show tourists baby crocodiles with elastics wrapped around their mouths. But attaching the elastics is murder since the babies are as aggressive as the adults.
“I’ve been bitten and it hurts. They’re not going to kill you but they have razor sharp teeth and do a bit of a head shake when they bite you,” he says.
Crocodiles lunging at drones is not uncommon
Mamid has a YouTube channel and hopes to help visitors learn more about and respect animals that are nearly as old as dinosaurs and about as friendly.
The reptiles are a constant threat in Australia and authorities use drones to patrol beaches to keep swimmers safe. And this crocodile-lunging- at-drones thing is more common than you’d think:
And another one:
The lesson here might be to steer clear of crocodiles and alligators lunging at drones.
But, I think we all know that.