Man bitten after sitting on crocodile's back

A man ejected from a pub in Australia broke into a zoo and climbed onto the back of a crocodile named Fatso, which bit him on the leg but then let him go.

Police said they are surprised the animal did not inflict worse damage.

The 36-year-old man, who police said had just been thrown out of a pub for being drunk, told officials he scaled the barbed wire fence surrounding the Broome Crocodile Park in remote northwest Australia because he wanted to give the 16-foot Fatso a pat.

“He has attempted to sit on its back and the croc has taken offence to that and has spun around and bit him on the right leg,” Broome Police Sergeant Roger Haynes said.

The saltwater crocodile then inexplicably let the man go, and he climbed back over the fence to safety, police said.

The man, who was a tourist from eastern Australia and whose name was not released, suffered some “very nasty lacerations” and was taken to a hospital, Sgt Haynes said.

“Saltwater crocodiles ... once they get hold of you, are not renowned for letting you go,” Sgt Haynes said. “He’s lucky to have escaped with his life.”

Saltwater crocodiles are the world’s largest reptile and can grow up to 23 feet. They became increasingly common in Australia’s tropical north since hunting that almost extinguished the species was banned in 1971.

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