Rob Bredl, a 65-year-old man known as the barefoot bushman from Queensland, Australia, has a hobby of sitting on the backs of massive saltwater crocodiles and playfully teasing them with just a stick and a hat.
Bredl’s acts of sitting on top of the dangerous reptiles, luring them towards the riverbank, or grabbing their heads and pulling them out of the water, have made him famous. “When people think of crocodiles, they want something dramatic or dangerous, which makes them satisfied. But after seeing what I’ve done with these reptiles, they’ll be amazed,” said Bredl in an interview with the Daily Mail.
During a performance in front of a group of around 20 people, Bredl started by putting his hand in the water and banging a stick to attract the attention of what he called “the killer of the swamps”. “I can grab Brian’s head, a nearly 800 kg crocodile, and pull it up from the water. I’m confident because I’ve been doing this for many years. Saltwater crocodiles act on instinct, and they’re more dangerous underwater. When they come out of the water, they can’t run,” he said. Despite being relaxed, Bredl remains highly alert to the danger of the giant reptiles.
The man, who has been bitten by crocodiles and venomous snakes more than 40 times, is still pursuing his risky job. Bredl, the owner of a farm and wildlife sanctuary, said, “I’m probably the luckiest and craziest person in the world. Crocodiles and snakes have bitten me many times, but I still won’t give up this job.”
Bredl’s family lives on the farm, which is also a 0.7-hectare wildlife sanctuary near Airlie Beach, Queensland. In addition to crocodiles, the farm also raises emus, koalas, kangaroos, birds, snakes, and other reptiles.
He currently has a total of 48 crocodiles, consisting of eight adults and 40 juveniles, some of which are nearly five meters long. Along with raising crocodiles, Bredl welcomes visitors to the farm to learn about these dangerous reptiles, which he calls “little salt grains”.
The brain size of saltwater crocodiles is relatively small, but Bredl’s ability to control them is remarkable. He said, “Crocodiles are not as intelligent as dolphins or other animals, but they have a simple, focused instinct. If you can understand their nature and behavior, they’re not that difficult to manage.”