Get ready for that rare croc attack

Get ready for that rare croc attack

A crocodile was seen lying on the main footpath of the Sungei Buloh Wetland Reserve on Nov 20. Though NParks, which oversees the reserve, called it a "rare occurrence", things must not be taken for granted.

I fear crocodiles.

Their eyes, ever so emotionless and dead, scare me to bits. And do not get me started on their teeth.

Every crocodile expert who comments on these reptiles, which have made Sungei Buloh Wetland Reserve their home, say they pose no danger to humans, even though they have been responsible for some of the most vicious attacks around the world.

Just last week, a crocodile in Sarawak vomited out body parts of a man who had been its lunch. These saltwater crocodiles at Sungei Buloh live in the water and occasionally come onto the mudflats to bask.

The argument goes that if visitors do not go swimming or stay away from the mudflats as ordered, no one will be hurt. But one of these crocs was caught on film crossing the main footpath at Sungei Buloh on Nov 20.

A group of visitors, mostly kids, were barely 20m away from it. This was not a case of people infringing into the reptile's habitat, this was the animal deciding to stroll across a bit of space we both share.

And despite the signs warning people to back away from crocodiles, some still went closer for a better look and for photographs. These crocodiles may appear cumbersome and heavy, but I am betting that even Usain Bolt would not want to be caught in a race against them in the undergrowth around the mudflats.

Yet, the constant refrain from the National Parks Board (NParks) is that there is nothing to worry about and that the crocodile on the footpath is a "rare occurrence".

And while a crocodile attack has not happened here even after years of the reptiles being in Sungei Buloh, it is going to take just one person to change all that.

It may be a curious child who does not know better, an adult eager to prove his bravado, or a nature-loving photo buff wanting that close-up Kodak moment.

The warning signs are up with the dos and don'ts, but there will always be people who do not follow them. And even if they follow the advice, who is to say the crocs would not attack anyway?

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