Terrifying moment zookeeper dodges death as 16-foot crocodile tries to maul him in front of gasping crowd

The 1400-pound predator launched an attack at the precise moment when his handler Sean Le Clus' attention strayed to a second gaping crocodile

Terrifying moment zookeeper dodges death as 16-foot crocodile tries to maul him in front of gasping crowd
The attack happened as the zookeeper performed his 'party trick' for the crowd by sitting on Hannibal's back (Screenshot/Dailystar)
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KWAZULU NATAL, SOUTH AFRICA: A 68-year-old zookeeper astonishingly dodged death after being attacked by a ferocious 16-foot crocodile at the Crocodile Creek farm in the KwaZulu Natal province of South Africa. The crocodile, named Hannibal, launched an attack on his handler Sean Le Clus in front of a panicked public at the precise moment the handler's attention strayed to a second gaping crocodile, named July.

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The man who cares for Hannibal, a Nile crocodile, had to escape on all fours on September 10 after struggling to push himself out of the beast's five-inch long teeth, which sank into his thigh. Sean had just finished feeding July, a female crocodile, while he performed his "party trick" for the crowd by sitting on Hannibal's back. He called him a “good boy” as he patted him behind the head and then sat on him, but little did he know that July was suddenly arrowing toward him. 

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The zookeeper forcibly pulled his leg out of the jaws of the female’s mouth at the very last moment and fended it off with a stick as he got down the huge male crocodile for safety. However, as soon as he took his attention off of Hannibal, the 1400-pound predator tried to whip the handler's head around with its jaws wide open. A number of tourists shouted in shock during the potentially lethal attack at the popular tourist attraction in South Africa. The video can be seen here.

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Sean has been previously bitten by another crocodile and suffered a leg wound that left him limping for 11 months. He said previously, ”If a croc gets a grip on you it is game over”. Such attacks are quite normal there as the popular reptile park on the Utongati River flood plain, just north of Durban, is home to 6000 crocodiles, alligators, and snakes

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A Crocodile Creek spokesman told The South African newspaper, “Sean had two big teeth holes in him but sewed them up himself and was back at work in 20 minutes." He continued, “It was the first time Hannibal has bitten a handler and it happened because the female moved in on him and she can be very stroppy."

“Sean was watching the female and Hannibal just reminded him that he was there – if it was a proper bite then it would have been very bad," the spokesman added. 

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