Special Report filed by AAF Correspondent: Peter CiglianoAnimal Attack Files Special Report
from The Associated Press

      Croc Makes Steve Irwin's Leg A Snack

Thursday January 18 8:36 AM ET

BRISBANE, Australia (AP) - A television crocodile hunter nearly became a crocodile snack this week when a six-foot reptile sank its teeth into his leg.

Steve Irwin, whose "Crocodile Hunter" documentaries air in 130 countries, described the bite - which required 12 stitches - as an ``occupational hazard.''

A 13-year-old female salt water crocodile, named Toolmaker, bit Irwin earlier this week as he tried to move her to another enclosure at his Australia Zoo, about 60 miles north of Brisbane.

``I threw a jaw rope over her, jumped on her and we were lifting her over the fence, and as I got her up to that point of no return, where I'm handing her over to the other crew, she just went ballistic,'' Irwin said Wednesday.

``She did a huge, big, full-bodied shake and as she came down she sensed my skin and just ... chomp - sunk her teeth into my leg and did a head shake which messed it up a little.''

A crew making a behind-the-scenes documentary about Australia Zoo filmed the attack. It was not immediately clear if the footage would appear in a ``Crocodile Hunter'' show.

Irwin, who is regularly seen getting bitten as he tangles with snakes, lizards, crocodiles and other animals on his show, said he did not blame the 176-pound crocodile.

``This poor little female was defending herself,'' he said.

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