Crocodile eats small dog that spent years chasing it back into river

Kai Hansen, owner of the terrier, said the dog was performing her favorite trick for a group of onlookers at the Goat Island Lodge when the tragedy occurred

                            Crocodile eats small dog that spent years chasing it back into river
(Getty Images)

An 11-foot crocodile ate a small dog in Australia that was famous for chasing the reptile into the water and taunting it for a decade.

This time, the saltwater crocodile did not scurry towards the water as the canine ran at its head. To the horror of guests at a riverside lodge who had gathered to watch the spectacle, the croc grabbed the dog and dragged it into the river after being mocked for years.

Guests had gathered at the Goat Island Lodge, south of Darwin in the middle of the crocodile-infested Adelaide River, to watch Pippa run at Casey the croc to scare her back into the waters.

Owner Kai Hansen acknowledged the balance of nature, saying Casey "did what crocs do." However, onlookers were horrified after she reacted with her zoic instinct.

Serving as a grim warning about the said river's dangers, the footage of Pippa being dragged into the water was made worse by the screams of witnesses. As Hansen conceded, "it was something that had a high probability of happening sometime".

About 15 years ago, Hansen left the city life to live amongst birds, dogs, and crocodiles in an island. Pippa, who was also known as Dumb Blonde, became famous for chasing the crocodile who was more than a 100 times her weight. ABC had done an exclusive covering the dog's antics last year, also featuring the pup 'Hot Dog', who went viral for barking along to tunes on the harmonica.

"You will see things that you do not believe possible," the owner told reporters as Pippa ran at the croc in 2017. "Take my word for it. It is unbelievable, this little 6-, 7-kilo dog attacks a 300-kilo crocodile."

Owner Kai Hansen stated that everyone believed it would be ok as the croc had finished eating.

Hansen also stated that everyone watching believed that Casey had already eaten her meal just sometime before and so it would be okay for Pippa to perform her favorite trick.

Normally Pippa would race down, go for the tail and the croc would just go into the river. She’s done it for nine years. That day she had already chased her back down into the water once. This time she went very close to the head straight away which was, yeah, not very smart.

In a conversation with ABC radio this morning, Hansen said that he had not watched the video of his beloved pup's demise as he was already "really sad."

However, he decided to be objective and not blame the crocodile for doing what they were born to do. "She's not doing something wrong, she's just doing what crocs do," he said. "In the early days, she actually had a go at me a couple of times. These days I just throw food out from up the top and no-one is allowed to walk down there."

That being said, some critics on social media bashed Hansen, asserting that it was his fault for encouraging Pippa to run up to the reptile and that conditioning her to do so led to her demise.

But Hansen had a different point of view. He said that the dog was just like a child that would not stop chasing cars and that it was in her nature to do what he did. To restrict her actions would be to restrict her natural instinct.

"A little terrier should not do things like that. But should I stop her? I don't know, she got away with it for 10 years," he said.

Looking at the hindsight, Hansen said that he would be getting another dog and would "definitely" ensure that he doesn't put it in harm's way.

Adam Britton, a crocodile expert, resonated with Hansen and urged that Casey should not be bashed for eating the canine.

The reptile enthusiast said that it was a completely different scenario when crocodiles attacked humans, as that would indicate that they have acquired a taste for "large prey items" and could repeat it.

However, Britton maintained that the small dog was exactly the kind of prey any crocodile would first target. It was only a matter of time before Pippa would meet her fate.

"The dog got right up close to the crocodile's head," Britton said. "That basically triggers a reflex reaction, and a crocodile, if you get that close to its head, it doesn't even think about it — it will just strike.

"If a crocodile attacks a person it's a little bit different because … that can potentially lead to it getting [another] large prey item, to put it bluntly. So in a situation like that often the crocodile is taken out of the system. But a dog, at the end of the day, is not really going to make a difference to its behavior."

Britton cautioned small dog owners who venture into crocodile habitats and urged them to consider the incident as a warning.

"Going near water where there's crocodiles is a really dangerous thing to do and we always encourage people to stay away from the water just in general — but if you've got a dog with you you're just compounding that risk," he said.