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The Crocodile Capture

February 08, 2012 | Comments: 0 | Views: 133

Farming, all over the world, is a challenging occupation at the best of times, but South African farmers can add wildlife to their list of challenges to be managed.

All manner of problems can arise when a crocodile takes up residence in a farm dam. The safety of the farm workers is a concern as well as the welfare of the crocodile. In a situation like this it is always desirable to move the crocodile to a sanctuary. The wildlife authority in the region is approached and the relevant district officer adds another task to his ever growing list.

These re-location exercises are very often lessons in extreme patience. The trap is baited and this heralds the start of the waiting game.

Crocodiles are not amenable to polite requests to re-locate so other measures have to be employed. Darting them with a tranquillizer drug is not an option as they tend to dive to the safety of the bottom of the dam and all hopes of catching them disappear.

If they are really small they can often be caught by hand from a boat using a torch to attract them. This is usually done at night by shining the light into the water. Their curiosity causes them to rise to the surface where they can be grabbed and crated.

The bigger ones require a specially constructed trap. The trap is baited with something delicious to a crocodile and left at the water's edge. The croc is hopefully attracted by the free meal and enters the trap. The trap has to be checked on a daily basis so as not to endanger the life of a trapped croc by having him in the trap for a long time. As he grabs the meat the mechanism is released closing the door and we have him.

Now that's the easy, boring part. Getting him out of the trap and ready to make the journey to his new home is the next challenge.

The first step is to drop a noose through the trap and around his top jaw. This can be time consuming if he chooses not to co-operate. Once his top jaw is secured the trap is opened and he is pulled out. Now comes the really tricky bit, a blanket is thrown over his head and an athletic volunteer leaps onto his back and holds his jaws closed. Although this sounds as if one has to have hands of steel it is not the case at all. The muscles that a crocodile uses to open his jaws are not very strong and, provided you get your hands around closed jaws, it is not difficult to hold them closed.

This is definitely not a one man job as the thrashing tail, which is more dangerous than the jaws at this point, has to be held firmly or the "jockey" could be thrown well clear with one swipe. A rope noose is slipped over both jaws and the jaws are taped closed. At this point the croc usually gives up and he is securely tied up and loaded onto the vehicle ready to start the journey to his new home.

Fortunately there are many conservation minded farmers who are prepared to initiate a capture in order to protect a crocodile.

You can see pictures of this crocodile capture and read other wildlife stories by going to

Darlene is involved in a variety of wildlife activities which include rescue and release as well as anti-poaching. She has worked with wildlife in South Africa and has an intimate knowledge of many species that inhabit protected areas as well as farmlands. is a website where you can read many interesting wildlife stories from rescues to rehabilitation of injured and abandoned animals.

Source: EzineArticles
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