Crocodile bites off zoo owner’s thumb and drags him under water- in front of spectators

Crocodile bites off zoo owner’s thumb and drags him under water- in front of spectators

Feeding demonstrations at zoos around the world are popular attractions, especially with dangerous animals like alligators and crocodiles. But for one zoo owner, a feeding demonstration with a crocodile almost turned deadly, all while tourists watched.

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Ian Jenkins was feeding the saltwater beast a chicken at the Snakes Downunder Reptile Park and Zoo in Queensland when he was attacked. In front of shocked tourists including children, the hungry four-metre croc grabbed Jenkins by the hand and dragged him into a pond.

A Queensland Careflight spokesperson told AAP they attended the scene after 1 p.m. local time on Sunday.

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“He’s taken his hat off and was holding his hat in his left hand, when the crocodile jumped up and grabbed his hat and his left hand,” the spokesman said. “The crocodile has bitten his left hand and amputated his left thumb.”

In a lucky escape, the 58-year-old survived the attack and was rushed to hospital where he is in a stable condition. It isn’t the first time Jenkins has been attacked by one of his animals; he was bitten previously by a brown snake.

Queensland paramedic Steven Bechly told 9News the audience was quite distressed, but it was the actions of witnesses that saved Jenkins’ life. “The quick thinking of the other workers managed to save him,” he said. “To get him out and get him to safety. … He is very, very lucky to be alive today.”

The children who had to watch that horror show probably will be loathe to go to the zoo from now on, at least for a little while. And seeing that this happened in Australia, the same country that gave us Steve Irwin, it makes you wonder — what exactly is it about Australia that makes so many people willing to take such dangerous risks with animals?

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