On our Aussie Tent Adventure we will be meeting many interesting people and we would like to introduce you to these amazing people, so here is our first profile, we thought we would start it off with the man who breed our little travelling companion Hartley the Crocodile.
Name: – Nick Stevens
Occupation:- Crocodile Farm Manager
Location: Hartleys Crocodile Adventures, Far North Queensland
Experience:- Over 25 years working with Salties, Estaurine Saltwater Crocodiles.
“It takes a special kind of guy to wake up every morning and go to work knowing that if you make a mistake it could be your last.”
During 1987 Nick was travelling around Australia and whilst in the Northern Territory he saw a job advertised on a Crocodile Farm. The rest is history! Today Nick is an expert in the field of Crocodile farming and breeding and is highly sort after for advice on dealing with Crocodiles.
About 3 years ago there was a Crocodile born at Hartleys Crocodile Adventures with WHITE skin (not albino). This is very rare and it wasnt long before Nick took a liking to this little guy. All the keepers saw something different with this rare WHITE Crocodile and noticed that Nick was giving this WHITE crocodile more food then the rest of the crocodiles. As a result this crocodile became larger then all the others of a simillar age. When the time was right this crocodile was transferred to Cairns Tropical Zoo where it lives today and has the name of “Fat Nick”. “Fat Nick” could have become a rare Handbag but Nick felt that having such a rare Crocodile should be kept. We all think deep down Nick held a deeper respect for “Fat Nick” than anyone thought. See these crocodile handlers do have a soft spot.
Capturing large Crocodiles is also on Nicks Job Description. A 4 metre plus Crocodile is one of the most dangerous animals on the planet. Nick catches them regularly, and makes it look rather easy! but to be honest there is NO WAY AT ALL anyone should attempt this unless you know exactly what you are doing, 4 metre Crocodiles are nothing to be played with because lets just say the chances of you walking away are pretty much NIL.
We asked Nick if he has had any close calls that made him feel this is it? The one that you can see in his eyes as he recalls it and begins to tell story with a deep breath happened on The Mary River, Northern Territory.
“Weed got caught around the boat propeller, so I had to tilt the motor into the boat and lean over the side of the boat to pull the weed off the propeller. I had a couple of Mates in the boat on watch for any signs of Crocodiles. Then out of no where and with no warnings a large Crocodile launches from the water, the Crocodiles wide open mouth was at my head, lucky for me my reflexes threw me backwards into the boat and with a thud the Crocodile crashed down on the edge of the boat and the sound of that Crocodiles jaw snapping shut with over 3500 PSI certainly shook me and a few profanities were yelled . I can honestly say that I really am VERY lucky to be here today to tell this story.”
“Nick and Hagrid doing the Croc Attack Show at” Hartleys Crocodile Adventures
We have had the privilege of watching Nick work with these animals and the respect that he holds for them is held high, he has this uncanny ability to read these amazing APEX predators, he seems to know what the crocodile is about to do before it does it. Thats why he is one of the best in this highly dangerous job.
“Keep up the great work Nick, you certainly have our utmost respect.”