Peter Rowsell was on a fishing trip in the Northern Territory of Australia when during the early morning hours he awoke to the terrifying nightmare of a crocodile attacking him in his tent.
The incident occurred at 4:30 a.m. Monday while Rowsell camped about 50 feet from the water at Dorisvale crossing southwest of Darwin, according to the Australian Broadcasting Corp.
Adam Britton, a crocodile expert from Charles Darwin University, told ABC that if Rowsell was camping only 50 feet from the water, it was way too close, as the official recommendation is a minimum of 165 feet.
“Crocodiles are inherently curious animals, they really quite like to check things out,” Britton told ABC. “Sometimes that means they’re hungry and they want to check out what the food is, and sometimes they just want to have a stickybeak. Unfortunately that means you’re potentially going to get bitten.”In this case, Rowsell awoke to a crocodile chomping down on his right foot. “I was sleeping in a mozzie net, and … I woke up and there was something shaking my foot, and I woke up and had a look and it was three-to-four meters [10-to-13 feet] long,” Rowsell explained to ABC.
Rowsell let out a scream and struck the crocodile in the head a couple of times with his hand, which was enough to get the croc to let go and retreat back into the water.
The Guardian reported that the crocodile pulled the 19-year-old from his tent, but that doesn’t appear to be the case.
Rowsell’s sister and her partner were sleeping nearby when they heard the screams. NT News reported that they immediately drove Rowsell 2.5 hours to Katherine Hospital where he was treated for puncture wounds and received an IV of antibiotics. Rowsell reported to ABC that he had bruising and was “still a bit sore.”
“It’s not a serious injury, he’s very lucky,” Department of Health spokeswoman Gail Liston told NT News.
Jamie Rowsell, another sister not on the trip, chimed in likewise, telling ABC her brother was “bloody lucky,” and was able to walk despite the injuries.
How lucky? According to the Daily Mail, in January a crocodile bit off a woman’s arm in a “death roll” at a creek in Western Australia. Worse, The Guardian reported there were two fatal attacks last year in the Northern Territory, where the population of crocodiles has boomed.
Last year, the National Parks launched an animation awareness campaign to urge people to be “crocwise.”
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