Australian crocodile caught by man inspired by TV celebrity Steve Irwin | News | DW | 17.04.2017
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Australian crocodile caught by man inspired by TV celebrity Steve Irwin

A young crocodile was returned to his zoo after a Sydney man spotted the missing reptile on a riverbank and decided to capture him. The man said he applied the skills he learned from the TV show "Crocodile Hunter."

Sydney resident Aaron Hughes was walking along a river with his wife and two-year-old son when he noticed the animal basking in the sun, Australian media reported on Monday. While crocodiles are common in the northern parts of Australia, they are a rare sight in cooler waters near Sydney.

Hughes recalled hearing that two freshwater crocodiles had gone missing from a travelling zoo in early March. "There had been a bit of a running joke on the street and with my friends that those crocs are going to be turning up in a few years being 2 meters and 3 meters long, so we sort of realized straight away where it was from," he said.

The three-year-old animal was 80 centimeters (31.5 inches) long and appeared somewhat malnourished. Hughes, inspired by the TV show that featured the late Steve Irwin subduing crocodiles, decided to capture it.

"As we've all done, we've seen Steve Irwin and the Crocodile Hunter," he told the Australian Broadcasting Corporation. "We thought that we were well-versed in maybe coming up behind it and grabbing it as it wasn't really moving too quickly."

Steve Irwin died aged 44 from a stingray injury to his heart while filming an underwater documentary in 2006.

Snap without Crackle

BdT Der als The Crocodile Hunter bekannt Steve Irvin ist tot (AP)

Steve Irwin found his way to fame by taking on alligators and crocodiles on television

Hughes was able to pin the crocodile down and then and pick it up, as the animal provided little resistance. Hughes then carried the reptile to his house and put it in his bathtub. The young crocodile, named Snap by his zoo keepers, apparently lived up to his name while adjusting to his new accommodation.

"He's snapping at our hands, he has teeth, they're pretty small but they're crocodile's teeth," Hughes told the Australian Daily Telegraph.

Hughes called a vet and the police, who eventually returned the animal to the Get Wild Animal Experiences Zoo. The zoo staff said that Snap was "very cold, thin and lethargic," but they were hoping he would return to normal with "some TLC [tender loving care]."

The other stolen crocodile, Crackle, is still missing. Authorities urged its return as low temperatures and an unfamiliar environment can present health problems for crocodiles.

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