Entertainment

Two reasons to fear crocs

The cast of the TV series The Croc Catchers NT, from left, Joey Buckerfield, Danielle Best, Tommy Nichols, Rachel Pearce and Robbie Risk.
The cast of the TV series The Croc Catchers NT, from left, Joey Buckerfield, Danielle Best, Tommy Nichols, Rachel Pearce and Robbie Risk. Contributed - Mark Rogers, National Geographic Channel

TOMMY Nichols has at least two reasons to fear crocodiles.

The 58-year-old can count on one hand the number of times he has let his guard down and the scaly beasts have caught him by surprise.

His left hand, to be exact.

The scar tissue where his two fingers and half of his palm used to be stands as a reminder of just how suddenly a day of tracking and catching crocs can become a brush with death.

A little more than nine years ago Nichols was on a routine capture run and was in the process of putting a snout rope over the three-metre croc's jaw when the predator did something unexpected.

"He grabbed hold of my hand and I got bitten," Nichols said.

"He let go after that first bite but as he let go he grabbed my hand again and ripped two of my fingers off plus a chunk of my palm."

Despite his savage encounter, Nichols is positive and doesn't blame the croc, rather he still feels a lot of respect for the creatures.

"I was fortunate, it could have been worse. He could have pulled me into the water," he said.

"After the accident when I was returning to work I decided if I was going to be a hindrance or a safety risk to the rest of the team I would give it up, but I still just really enjoy it.

"There is no safe croc. I guess one positive was we changed our catching technique after that."

Nichols features in the National Geographic Channel's eight-part-series, which follows the Northern Territory Parks and Wildlife Service head croc catcher and his team as they wrangle the ancient reptiles at the top of Australia.

He has more than 30 years of croc catching experience and always knew he wanted to work with wildlife.

"It was something I wanted to do since I was a kid," he said.

"But when I started crocs weren't much of an issue so they were more of job on the side.

"I worked mostly in enforcement and permits."

There are plenty of crocs to capture with an estimated 100,000 crocodiles in the Northern Territory and when they come in contact with or threaten humans, the unit steps in.

There are five rangers in the unit and already this year they have pulled more than 200 crocodiles out of Darwin Harbour.

The animals aren't relocated but rather sent to a crocodile farm so they don't find their way back.

To be a croc catcher Nichols said you need speed, guts and fear.

"Being mental probably helps," he said.

 

The Croc Catchers NT - Monday at 8pm on National Geographic Channel

Topics:  crocodiles national geographic channel tv series


Stay Connected

Update your news preferences and get the latest news delivered to your inbox.

Hemp industry set to explode

GROWTH INDUSTRY: Paul Benhaim believes 2017 will be a watershed year for the hemp industry.

Bangalow producer has many reasons to be cheerful

Byron Labor opposes 60% rate rise proposal

Byron Shire Council headquarters at Mullumbimby

"This massive rate rise is a lazy and unimaginative response"

SOAP BOX: Was it greyhounds or party games that bit Baird?

GONE: NSW Premier Mike Baird announced on Thursday that it was time to hand over the reins to a new premier for the state.

Now that he's gone, restore Sydney to what it was

Local Partners

Jennifer Aniston wants to return to TV

Jennifer Aniston is desperate to make a return to TV

Madonna hopes for election unity

Madonna hopes Donald Trump's election will "bring people together"

JK Rowling rules out Cursed Child trilogy

JK Rowling has ruled out a 'Cursed Child' movie trilogy

Buckley's chance in psychological thriller

James McAvoy and Betty Buckley in a scene from the movie Split.

Broadway veteran back on big screen with James McAvoy

Daniel MacPherson: acting’s a bit like channel surfing

Australian actor Daniel MacPherson in a scene from the American TV series APB.

THE Aussie export talks about making his mark in the US.

Shopping isn't fun if you can see dead people

Lisa Marie Woodham will be giving readings in Gladstone until Saturday January 21.

Shopping isn't fun if you can see dead people

Thousands of jobs part of $1b retirement village project

THIS YEAR: An artist impression of the new Aveo retirement village in Springfield.

Aveo Springfield unveiled this month, homes ready by July

KNIFE-EDGE: The housing tightrope we now face

Even the smallest interest rate rise will be hard for some to handle.

One if five home owners at risk, according to new analysis

Historical home leaves family's hands after 75 years

SALE CONFIRMED: The Gympie Regional   Realty team which sold the Ramsey property are (back) Mel Gastigar, Dorothy Palmer and Margaret Cochrane, with (front) home seller Terri-Jayne Ramsey.

Ramsey family played a huge role in Gympie's growth.

Pat Rafter's $18m Coast home proves hot property

PAT'S PAD: The Sunshine Beach home of tennis ace Pat rafter is on the market for a record price.

"It's a record for our company and for the Sunshine Coast.''

INTERACTIVE MAP: Which Northern Rivers towns boomed in 2016?

BOOM TOWNS: While Ballina properties continued to attract top dollar in 2016, it was areas to the south that experienced price hikes, including Wardell, Evans Head and Woodburn.

Click on our map to find the median sale price in your town

Ready to SELL your property?

Post Your Ad Here!