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Safety Precautions for Visitors to Crocodilian Areas

Alligators caution sign
1- Notices; warning of the danger of crocodiles or alligators are there for a good reason.  If you see one at a jetty, river bank, or lake shore… take heed! Remember too that small children cannot read notices; the responsibility is yours.

2- When visiting a holiday resort, caravan park, camping ground, boat jetty, or farmer friend, ask about the safety of  paddling, swimming, fishing, or boating in that area.

3- Remember that crocodilians are rarely seen; they are silent, stealthy, and efficient hunters that attack very swiftly. When fishing, stand back a minimum of 3 meters (10 feet) from the water’s edge, and even farther back at night. Your chances of being attacked will be   greatly reduced by doing so. If a fishing line becomes entangled in reeds, water lilies or whatever, do not allow anyone to wade out to disentangle it. A human life is surely worth more than a length of nylon and a fishhook.

4- Do not allow children to wade into or play around in the water if crocodiles or alligators are even suspected of being in the area.

5- Do not be misled into believing that noise frightens a crocodilian. Noise if anything alerts it to the fact that prey _ animal or human_ is available and it might not be too choosy about its prey.

6- Do not assume that a shallow pool, weed – covered pan, drainage canal, or even a ditch is safe for you or your pets. Even if it is situated some kilometers from the nearest lake or river, crocodilians do travel overland at times from one body of water to another. A large crocodilian can lie submerged in barely 30 centimeters (12 inches) of water, for well over an hour.

7- If your dog is feeling the heat and panting on a hot summer day do not encourage it to go into the water but take it to the nearest tap.

8- Never leave the carcasses of animals or fish you consider inedible anywhere near water where people swim, paddle, fish or moor boats. The carcasses should be properly disposed of.

9- Do not gut fish from your boat or a jetty into water.  Depositing unwanted fish entrails or unused bait will quickly attract crocodilians to scavenge these scraps or perhaps to attack you.

10 – Do not allow anyone on your boat to dangle their limbs in the water where crocodilians occur. Make sure that your passengers sit on the seats provided in the boat and not on the edge with their bottoms hanging over.

11- If you discover a hatchling crocodile or alligator drifting past your boat or lying basking on the bank, move away from the area and, above all, do not try to capture it; the adults might well be close by. (In any case it is illegal to capture or kill a crocodilian or to remove eggs without a permit.)

12- The discharging of a firearm into the water to frighten away crocodilians before crossing a river or stream is no guarantee of safety. The volume of sound produced does not travel very far under water.

13- The eyes of a crocodilian glow red in the bean of a light at night but failure to see glowing eyes in a light scan does not mean that the area is free of them. One may be lying submerged and invisible beneath the jetty or your boat.

14- Do not walk around at night without a torch if you are fishing or coming close to the water's edge.

15 - Investigations have shown that when a crocodilian has successfully attacked and killed a victim at a site to which people come daily, it will usually return again and again to repeat such attacks.  The construction of a simple screen or barrier of logs and branches is often all that is necessary to provide protection and to prevent tragedies.

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