Deadly social media trend puts Aussies in range of predator
A Queensland conservationist has warned that "people will die" if a concerning trend on social media that's seen Aussies "jump into crocodileinfested waters" continues.
Wildlife educator and reptile enthusiastic Mick Bender has called on the government to intervene after a noticing steep increase in viral social media videos showing people dangerously interacting with wild crocodiles.
"If things keep going the way they're going, more people will die and more crocodiles will die because of it," Bender said this morning on 4BC.
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"I shake my head every time I see them (the videos)."
Pointing to footage a man who was attacked and whose dog was killed after the pair entered a river well-known for being infested with crocodiles, Bender said people need to pay more attention to advice.
"It's so devastating to see, you can see what a bad example the bloke has set by going down and doing the wrong thing at that boat ramp and getting attacked," he said.
"People see the videos and think there's a lot of views or whatever to gain out of this, so people are going out into crocodile territory and taking risks.
"You can see what's going to happen, which is what we're really trying to warn against.
"We want to see something done about this before something else goes wrong."
People drastically underestimate crocodiles' hunting abilities, Bender said.
Having been around for over 250 million years, crocodiles are "so well evolved" that they've perfected underwater hunting.
"They're so well adapted in so many ways," Bender said.
"They're an ambush attack predator too, they're unseen predators.
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"You don't always see them, it's the crocodiles you don't see that you've got to be worried about, it's not the one sitting on the bank across the river, it's the one that's ready to strike right in front of you, out of sight."
Crocodiles don't even have to see potential prey, Bender added, revealing they can actually "feel you".
"If you're splashing around they can feel you," he said.
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"They can swim at the cruising speed of a dolphin and they can hold their breath for seven hours."
Bender said he'd like to see a boycott of crocodile interaction videos but admitted he knows "that's not how social media works".
"We're pushing for the government to enforce penalties for these kinds of acts because people are continuously going up into crocodile territory, ignoring the warning signs, ignoring all the safety rules up there, getting grabbed from it and it's always the crocodiles that suffer," he said.