How Do You Survive a Crocodile Attack? Bite Back.

This article originally appeared on Outside

In a scene straight out of Crocodile Dundee, Australian cattle rancher Colin Deveraux, survived an attack from a ten-foot long saltwater crocodile in mid-October. The story was first reported by ABC Australia. Deveraux, who is in his mid-sixties, spent a month in Royal Darwin Hospital and told local media that he's lucky to be alive. The key to surviving his attack? Deveraux bit the croc on its eyelid.

"I managed to have a bite," he said.

Deveraux was on his way to fence some land by the Finniss River south of Darwin, Australia, when he stopped beside a billabong--an Aussie name for an oxbow lake. "The water had receded and it was down to this dirty water in the middle. I took two steps and the dirty bastard [the crocodile] latched onto my right foot," he told ABC News Australia.

Deveraux said the crocodile shook him like a rag doll and attempted to pull him into the water. He tried to kick the reptile in its ribs with his free foot. When that didn't work, he used his teeth and bit it back.

"I was in such an awkward position," said Deveraux, "by accident my teeth caught his eyelid. It was pretty thick, like holding onto leather, but I jerked back on his eyelid and he let go."

Freed from disaster, Deveraux ran to his car with the crocodile chasing behind him, but the croc gave up after about 15 feet. The whole attack, Deveraux guessed, lasted about eight seconds.

He used a towel and a rope to stop the bleeding, and his brother drove him 80 miles to the nearest hospital, where he continues to receive treatment. Deveraux said the biggest problem the doctors encountered was clearing all the bacteria from the billabong out of his wound. The pond water was filled with mud and animal feces, and puncture wounds are notoriously difficult to clean. "It [my foot and leg] was opened up bad and over ten days in a row, I think, they had to flush it," said Deveraux.

Crocodile attacks are uncommon in Australia, but there have been several incidents in recent months. A man in Queensland survived an attack in May when he was bitten from behind by a juvenile crocodile. The croc bit him in the head, but the man was able to reach back and lever its jaws open far enough that he was able to escape.

Earlier in May of this year, Australian authorities found the remains of 65-year-old fisherman Kevin Darmody inside a 13-foot crocodile on the nearby Kennedy River.

Deveraux is not the first Australian to use an innovative method to escape a crocodile. Val Plumwood survived a harrowing crocodile attack in Australia's Kakadu National Park in 1985 by anticipating the animal's so-called "death roll." The National Museum Australia shared the events in a thrilling essay which you can read here.

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