Too close for comfort: How quick thinking cattleman escaped a crocodile’s jaws

A Northern Territory cattle producer has narrowly escaped the jaws of a saltwater crocodile. Source: Getty Images.

They say an eye for an eye makes the world go blind but one Northern Territory cattle producer saved his own life and narrowly escaped what could have been a fatal attack.

In his mid-60s, cattleman Colin Deveraux is lucky to be alive after a 3,2 metre saltwater crocodile bit onto his ankle while he was out seeing to fences near the Finniss River last month.

According to a report by ABC News, he approached a billabong after noticing fish swimming in the middle of the retreating waterway.

“The water had receded and it was down to this dirty water in the middle. I took two steps and the dirty bastard [the crocodile] latched onto my right foot,” he said.

“It was a big grab and he shook me like a rag doll and took off back into the water, pulling me in.”

Deveraux tried everything to release himself from the croc’s deadly jaws including kicking it in the ribs.

In a last ditch attempt to save his own life, the courageous cattle farmer tried biting the animal back.

Recalling the harrowing experience he said, “I was in such an awkward position … but by accident my teeth caught his eyelid. It was pretty thick, like holding onto leather, but I jerked back on his eyelid and he let go.

“I leapt away and took off with great steps up to where my car was.

“He chased me for a bit, maybe four metres, but then stopped.”

The quick-thinking Deveraux strapped his bleeding leg up with a towel and some rope and asked his brother to drive him the 132 kilometres to the nearest hospital.

He has been receiving treatment for his wound ever since.

“Biggest problem was having to clear out all the bad bacteria [from the wound] … so all of the billabong water full of mud, goose s**t, duck s**t, and crocodile teeth marks,” he said.

“It [my foot and leg] was opened up bad and over 10 days in a row, I think, they had to flush it.”

Deveraux’s treatment included a skin graft. Happily he can still feel his toes and is expecting to be discharged from hospital this week.

Recounting the ordeal he says, “It all happened in about eight seconds I reckon,

“If he [the crocodile] had bitten me somewhere else it would have been different.

“It means I’ve got to change what I do. I’ve been walking around that swamp country too long fixing fences and living life, but it’s opened my eyes.”

He concluded that the reptile would not be harming anyone else and had been “removed”.

Saltwater crocodile attacks are a common occurrence in Australia with most occurring in the far north. The last fatal attack in the Northern Territory was in 2018.





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