In September 07 we saw a croc in our dam. After this there were numerous sightings – especially in the evenings. The way to spot them is with a normal torch – not the heavy duty bright ones – which will show their eyes as red.
We then got a trap from the parks board and set bait for it but twice it was in the trap and managed to work its way out. The previous owners of our property confirmed that a croc had been in the vicinity for a number of years and that it had taken one of their dogs.
Imagine our shock when Theo saw not one but two crocs mating during the day right by our favourite fishing spot and were not frightened by him at all!
One morning we awoke to a tragic sight – my pet pig, Morgan, had been taken during the night by the croc. It had already eaten out her stomach and she was in the shallows wedged up against the security fence separating our property from the neighbouring game farm. This meant war – we had donkeys, goats, dogs, as well as two more pigs. It was just a matter of time before these went too.
We then contacted Chantal from the Parks Board in St Lucia and she brought an amazing barrel cage that can be extended according to the size of the croc. She baited it with a frozen chicken and every night we went out to check up on the cage – but no croc was to be seen.
That weekend we had a house full of friends and we bought mtumbus – stomach – and Theo rebaited the traps. About 11 pm a few of us decided to check on the traps and as we got about 20 metres away I could hear the steel of the trap and I knew we had succeeded. Much to my dismay when I shone my torch onto the water there was another pair of red eyes moving away from the side. At least we had 1 big croc safely in the barrel cage.
We phoned Chantal early the following morning and she said she would be there asap. However , on walking down to check up on the cage I couldn’t believe my eyes – there was a croc in the small cage too.
Chantal and 2 of her co workers duly arrived and sedated the croc in the small cage.
We were so worried it would escape again. They then attended to the croc in the barrel cage.
The locking mechanism on the trap door was not working properly, so we were fortunate it had not escaped during the night. This also made it extremely dangerous as it could get out if it thrashed about enough. After much drama they managed to tie it up, get it out of the cage and load it onto the bakkie. They then managed to do the same to the smaller croc without much trouble.
When they were safe and secure we had a chance to measure them. One was 3 metres and the other 1.5 metres long! Pretty scary stuff considering it only has to get hold of your toe to drag you down and roll you until you drown.
All was quiet at the dam until October 2007. Suddenly a hippo pitched up and visited us daily.
This was worse than the croc’s because a hippo will charge you on the land too. The Parks Board could not help unless we asked them to shoot and kill it. If they shoot it with a tranquiliser dart it will head straight into the water and drown. We haven’t seen too much of the hippo lately although it has been back in the night a few times.
Gill & Theo, thanks for letting me share this amazing story with others!