A trip around the sewage pond croc spotting at night was de rigueur for
Amber's birthdays. We had an old bus and used to load the kids on board.
Martin, the caretaker warned us about Ben first in 1984. What a pity you
and I didn't meet then!
By the way this email is being copied to the Scrubfowls!
on 19/1/08 4:56 PM, Syd Curtis at wrote:
> Does anyone have the reference for this croc incident written up in some
> journal by Harry Messell? Probably in the late 1970s or early '80s.
> Years ago (20+), I spent a couple of weeks on his boat on the Blythe River
> learning of his croc survey techniques re their potential application in
> Queensland and I read the reprint there, but have long since forgotten what
> journal it was in. As I recall, the near fatality happened like this:
> Messel's survey included tracking crocs by means of radio transmitters
> attached to their necks. Three of his staff had located one very large croc
> basking on the far bank of a river. There was a large mangrove leaning out
> over the water on their bank, but even after climbing up it and using
> binoculars they were not entirely satisfied that they could see whether the
> transmitter was still securely fastened to the croc's neck.
> One bloke said he had been told that if you splash a leafy branch in the
> water it will attract a crocodile - sounds like a fish in distress. They do
> that and sure enough the croc's head comes up, and a few seconds later he
> walks down to the water, swims out about 10 metres and submerges.
> Shortly after, his head comes out of the water right in front of the
> mangrove; paused for a split-second, then lunged. And the only thing that
> saved the lowest of the three blokes was a small branch on the mangrove that
> deflected the croc's strike.
>> From: Denise Goodfellow <>
>> Date: Fri, 18 Jan 2008 13:20:47 +0930
>> Subject: Re: [Birding-Aus] Fwd: Leanyer sewage ponds (Darwin)
>> I know the crocodiles at the sewage ponds well. We were first warned of Ben
>> back in 1984, I think it was.
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