My eyes twinkled with excitement when, during the morning of the third day of our September 22-25, 2010 Study Tour on Credit Cooperatives in Thailand, our expert tour guide Mr. Prakob “Tom Cruise” Srirai announced that we would be visiting the popular salt water crocodile wrestling show by the afternoon. Hence, after the usual visit to successful cooperatives included in the itinerary and as we were through taking our sumptuous lunch, our tour bus traveled west of Bangkok and entered a secluded place bearing a gate signage: Welcome To Samphran Elephant Ground and Zoo. Our tour guide then ushered us to a crowded place resembling a cockpit arena in the Philippines. Just as I was about to climb on the bleacher, the loudspeaker had barked unfamiliar words which Mr. Prakob interpreted as an announcement for the start of the salt water crocodile wrestling show. Hurriedly, I looked for a vantage point to have a clear view of a concrete elevated platform with improvised crocodile creek enclosed with wire-mesh below. With my point and shoot camera at hand, my eyes kept watch on a spectacular show and one of Thailand tourist attractions about to unfold.
My heart started beating faster when, at the tune of a lively music with occasional announcer’s bark, the two care takers waded through the crocodile creek and wrestled with the crocodiles pulling in the process the wild animals on their tails towards the elevated platform. Afterwards, an animal keeper positioned himself at a distance and slid head on towards his waiting partner salt water crocodile wearing a fully-opened mouth and kissed the nostrils of the beast.
Afterwards, a caretaker put his fully extended right arm inside the widely-opened mouth of the salt water crocodile and, quick as flash, withdrew it in just a split second before the mouth of the wild animal was shut down.
I almost dropped my camera to the ground in extreme fright as the salt water crocodile unleashed the power of its bite with immense force. As record holder of the strongest bite of any animal on earth with a pressure of more than 5,000 pounds per square inch, the bite of the salt water crocodile can easily cut the arm of the keeper at once.
Not contented with such frightening and crazy stunts, the animal keeper not only put his arm inside the mouth of the animal but extended it further, opening in the process the palatal valve covering the throat of the salt water crocodile, and slid his arm deeper into the throat of the beast. . .
Salt Water Crocodile Wrestling – Final Thoughts
Judging from the salt water crocodile wrestling show I had witnessed, and no offense meant for any single wildlife conservationist as I am a wildlife conservation advocate myself, it was my unequivocal opinion that the Thais are special people. My conclusion was anchored on the fact that they are capable of transforming a ferocious salt water crocodile into its most docile state, not for animal exploitation purposes, but for the sake of meaningful thrill seeker entertainment thereby making it as one of Thailand attractions that really enticed tourists to decide on travelling to Thailand.