Crocodile handler loses thumb during feeding demonstration

Man suffered hand and head injuries in crocodile attack

Updated: 
Australia, Northern Territory, Darwin.A saltwater crocodile (Crocodylus porosus) on a crocodile cruise on the Adelaide River.

A reptile handler had his thumb bitten off by a saltwater crocodile during a feeding demonstration at a wildlife park in Queensland, Australia.

The 58-year-old man was conducting the feeding session at Snakes Downunder Reptile Park and Zoo when the predator leapt out of the water and pulled him in.

A RACQ Careflight rescue helicopter was sent to the scene shortly afterwards.

RACQ Careflight spokesman Brian Russell told ABC: "He had a chicken in one hand, and he was trying to get the attention of the crocodile with his hat, holding it in his left hand.

"Unfortunately the crocodile has come up and bitten the hat and his hand and has unfortunately amputated his left thumb."

Queensland Ambulance Service senior operations supervisor Martin Kelly said: "The crocodile actually dragged the handler under the water.

"He suffered a significant hand injury and ... he also had a fairly sizeable laceration to his head."

According to Nine News, the man was airlifted to hospital and is in a stable condition.

He also suffered a head injury in the attack.

Last year, a photographer taking pictures of crocodiles on a riverbank in Costa Rica got a little too close for comfort - and almost got eaten as a result.

The man crouched in long grass as his friends threw scraps of meat to the crocodiles to encourage them to come closer.

But he was so focused on taking pictures of one particular crocodile that he failed to spot another one right beside it - until it lunged out of the water towards him.

Although his friends tried to shout and warn him, he ignored them - but luckily managed to scramble up the riverbank just in time.

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