The crowd watched in fascinated horror as Rob Bredl approached the lake. Then something stirred under the surface, and Bredl did the unthinkable.
A Risky Move
The man in question is Rob Bredl, a southern Australian who loves wildlife and exploring the outback.
Bredl uses his expert wildlife knowledge to make TV shows about some of the country’s most rural areas. Fans watch his documentaries, in 36 languages across the world. Moreover, animal expertise even runs in the family.
The Barefoot Bushman’s father, Josef Bredl, was a snake specialist who made a name for himself catching serpents. In fact, he was so distinguished in his field that experts named Morelia bredli, or Bredl’s python, after him. He wasn’t just knowledgeable about snakes, either.
Bredl senior had a passion that his sons went on to share. In their early years, young Rob and his siblings joined their father on his explorations to try and find rare creatures in the outback.
Experience Up Close
Josef later established a wildlife sanctuary, something else that the Barefoot Bushman has in common with his father. Not only does Rob own the Blue Planet Wildlife Park, but also the family-run Bredl Wildlife Farm (BWF). It’s an Australian petting zoo where visitors can experience animals up close.
At the BWF, you can hug adorable koalas, kiss deer and handle reptiles. Obviously, the more dangerous animals such as adult crocs are off limits to the public. But they can still be observed from a safe distance, and it’s quite a show.
Rare Witnessing Opportunity
Sometimes there is an opportunity to witness extremely rare species that you wouldn’t normall see at wildlife sanctuaries.
The footage begins with Bredl at the side of a body of water holding one of his hands under the surface. The water’s too murky to see much, but when he lifts the hand, he’s holding something incredible. It’s the tooth-filled maw of a huge crocodile.
The Barefoot Bushman casually drops the snout and turns to address his off-camera observers. “What I just did should have been impossible,” Bredl tells the crowd. “That’s if what you’ve seen on TV and have been told about crocodiles is true.”
Near The Water’s Edge
“The reason he didn’t react,” Bredl continues, “is because he reacts to certain stimuli. Splashing is one of them.” The Bushman proves his point by stamping on the ground near the water’s edge, but the crocodile doesn’t respond. Bredl knows what will elicit a response, though.
Up To The Surface With A Splash
He approaches a chicken carcass on the ground nearby and lifts it up over the murky water. Then, he brings it down again, slapping the water’s surface with a splash. The hidden giant responds instantly and rears its head from the depths.
Luring It Out
Bredl uses the chicken to lure his crocodile out, revealing the full size of the previously concealed monster. The beast is huge; so big, in fact, that the observers can barely fit the whole reptile on their camera screens. And then the Barefoot Bushman does something even more amazing.
Safe Spot, Or Not?
Bredl’s so confident in his crocodile knowledge that he actually sits on the crocodile! He explains to the audience that he’s sitting in a “safe spot” on the reptile. For his part, the croc seems oblivious to the Bushman’s presence as he eats his chicken.
The Beast Returns
The Barefoot Bushman subsequently explains how the crocodile’s powerful legs can carry the reptile surprisingly quickly over short distances. Then the beast decides to return to the water, with Bredl bouncing on its back all the way to the lakeside. The crowd can’t help but gasp at the sight of the huge predator.
In another YouTube video, the Bushman tells audiences that crocodiles aren’t as unpredictable as their reputations might suggest. He said that it’s actually quite the contrary.
All Of His Fingers And Toes
Indeed, Bredl attributes the fact that he still has all his fingers and toes to the predictability of crocs.
However, on September 22, 2016, that almost changed when Bredl made a slip-up during a show.
He was feeding a 14-foot crocodile called Tripod, when a piece of meat became stuck in the reptile’s teeth. The Bushman later recounted the event in an interview with Australian TV show 60 Minutes.
A Big Mistake
Bredl said, “Normally I’d close his eyes or flick it out [with a stick].” But on that day, he did neither of those things and reached into Tripod’s mouth instead. The giant croc crunched through the Bushman’s hand and tried to pull his prey into the water.
Chunk Out Of The Leg
The Bushman’s nephew, Zeb, thankfully saved him, but not before Tripod took a chunk out of Bredl’s leg. Consequently, paramedics rushed to the scene and whisked him to an emergency ward.
What Would Happen?
Luckily, although he suffered “severe lacerations,” doctors managed to save Bredl’s limbs thank goodness for that.
Bredl attributes his mistake to a “brain fart,” and he maintains that Tripod was not at fault. “I thought [Bredl] made an error that was going to cost him his life,”
Lucky To Be Here
Zeb said. “I was just lucky to get him out of there.” The Barefoot Bushman is recovering from his ordeal.