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Australian Man Attacked in Sleep by Crocodile While Camping

A man was dragged from his tent in the middle of night by a hungry crocodile.

An Australian man is the survivor of a bizarre crocodile attack this past weekend. Unlike the traditional attack Peter Rowsell wasn’t attacked while swimming or working near the water. Instead, he was attacked in his sleep while camping!

The 19-year-old was camping with his sister and one other person in the northern part of Australia known as Dorisvale crossing south of Darwin. He was settled about 50 feet from the water when he suddenly awoke to his foot being shaken in the early morning hours.

“…I was sleeping in a mozzie net, and I woke up and there was something shaking my foot, and I woke up and had a look and it was three to four metres (9-13 feet) long,” Rowsell told ABC News Australia.

ABC News Australia

Obviously startled, Rowsell struck the crocodile in the head and it let go of his foot. His screams woke the others and they rushed him to a hospital.

If you’re wondering why on earth a crocodile would attack someone who was asleep, it appears Rowsell was camping too close to the water’s edge.

“Crocodiles are inherently curious animals, they really quite like to check things out,” Darwin University crocodile specialist Adam Britton told ABC News Australia. “Sometimes that means they’re hungry and they want to check out what the food is, and sometimes they just want to have a stickybeak. (Australian slang for a nosy person) Unfortunately that means you’re potentially going to get bitten.”

It’s not known if it was salt or freshwater crocodile that attacked Rowsell, but he was fortunate to walk away with just some nasty punctures and bruising in the incident.

As for avoiding becoming a crocodile’s late-night snack, Britton advised that 50 meters (165 feet) is a safe distance campers should utilize when camping in crocodile country.

Here in the U.S., people typically worry about bears interrupting their sleep while camping. But in Australia, they apparently have to worry about crocodiles!


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Australian Man Attacked in Sleep by Crocodile While Camping