A man in Australia is counting his lucky stars after surviving a crocodile attack this week while wading in a river in the Northern Territory.
Northern Territory Police watch commander Siiri Tennosaar called 23-year-old survivor Kelvin Guyula “the luckiest man alive,” according to the Daily Mail.
“So other than suffering some pretty deep lacerations to his upper thigh, he managed to get away with no life-threatening injuries,” said Commander Tennosaar.
“He should buy a lotto ticket. I reckon he is the luckiest man alive.”
Tennosaar’s comments aren’t hyperbolic. The Australian Museum notes that the type of saltwater crocodile that likely attacked Guyula “does not suffer foolish humans that enter its watery domain.”
“A person seized in the water by a Estuarine Crocodile has little chance of escaping without serious injury, if at all. Resulting wounds are usually horrific and likely to become infected,” the museum reports on its page dedicated to the Estuarine Crocodile.
Guyula had been wading for worms in the Glyde River in the northernmost part of the country, according to 9News, which was the first to report the story.
“The crocodile came up behind me and grabbed my legs,” he said.
The man hadn’t seen the crocodile approach, but once he felt the reptile take hold, he grabbed for some nearby mangroves.
“I took the tree with my right hand, and I pulled myself to the ground land,” he said.
Amazingly, the crocodile soon let go and swam away.
“I came up onto the dry land and said to all of my family to come and help me,” Guyula said.
He also made a tourniquet with his belt to stop the bleeding.
He was taken to a nearby hospital, where doctors patched up a bite wound on his upper thigh. Beyond the teeth marks, Guyula suffered no other serious injuries.
“I feel lucky, my bones is good and my muscles too,” he said.
Guyula estimates that the crocodile measured about six feet.
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Saltwater crocodiles are the largest of all living reptiles, and adults average between 10 and 16 feet in length. The largest saltwater crocodile ever reliably measured clocked in at 21 feet, according to the Australian Museum.
“[Saltwater crocodiles] will eat just about any animal that they can catch and overpower,” the museum notes. “Small crocodiles feed frequently on small prey, such as insects and crustaceans, whereas larger individuals feed less often and on bigger prey, including water birds, sea turtles, and mammals up to the size of water buffalo.”
The specimen that attacked Guyula was likely a juvenile, considering its length. The museum says that these smaller animals tend to wait in shallow water for suitable prey to come within striking distance.
Saltwater crocodiles received protection in the 1970s, and since then encounters with humans have been more common.
“Despite numerous crocodile warning signs around popular waterways, people choose to ignore the risks and many attacks and near-misses have resulted,” the museum says.
Guyula told 9News that he doesn’t plan to change his behavior once he recovers from his injuries.
“I’ll just look after myself better,” he said with a grin.