Correction appended Nov. 20, 2012.
It’s a universally understood fact that when you’ve had too much to drink, you can make some pretty poor decisions. While many of us have put back a few too many at one time or another, most of us have the common sense — even while drunk — not to try to ride a crocodile.
At least one Australian man didn’t.
In a story from 2010 that recently started making the rounds online again, Michael Newman was tossed out of a local watering hole for being overly intoxicated, according to the BBC; but instead of having the sense to either go home or pass out or some combination of the two, he headed to the Broome Crocodile Park. There he proceeded to climb a fence into the crocodile enclosure and attempt to ride an 1,800-lb. (820 kg) crocodile named Fatso. Unsurprisingly, the croc was not happy with this turn of events, and he tore into Newman’s leg. Fortunately, the massive croc eventually let the 36-year-old tourist go, and Newman was able to crawl back over the fence and head straight back to the bar. Pub manager Mark Phillips told the BBC that Newman reappeared with “bits of bark hanging off him and flesh gouged out of his limbs.” Newman is now recuperating in the hospital, undoubtedly awaiting a good dressing-down from his mother.
While his injuries are serious, Newman is lucky: cold-blooded crocodiles are generally sluggish in cool weather, which likely allowed the drunken trespasser to escape with only wounds to his leg. According to Malcolm Douglas, the park’s owner, Fatso is capable of crushing a man to death with a single bite. “If it had been warmer and Fatso was more alert, we would have been dealing with a fatality,” he told the BBC.
Due to an editors’ error, this article originally failed to indicate that the events in question occurred in 2010.