Security Guard Fights Off Crocodile Trying To Eat His Patrol Dog

A security guard fought a crocodile that tried to snatch his patrol dog, fending off the deadly predator by hitting it with a stick.

Private security firm Reaction Unit South Africa (RUSA) said one of their officers had been out patrolling a construction site in Ballito, KwaZulu-Natal province, on the east coast of South Africa when the encounter happened on Saturday night.

The crocodile attempted to attack the officer's patrol dog, RUSA said, but was fended off by the officer who used a stick in his fight with the crocodile.

The company posted about the attack on its Facebook page. Many users praised the efforts of the guard and his bravery in confronting such a dangerous animal and protecting his canine companion.

RUSA said that the officer in question, who was not named, put in a call for support at 10.12 p.m. local time, and other members of the private security company arrived at the site to help.

The crocodile, however, was not found. RUSA said it is believed to have escaped into the nearby uThongathi River that passes through Ballito.

Ballito is a small town north of Durban on South Africa's Indian Ocean coast. Nile crocodiles are known in the area, with reptile expert Neville Wolmarans telling the North Coast Courier in 2015 that they are found in every fresh water source north of Durban.

In an interview with The Independent last year, Wolmarans said: "They are very secretive creatures. The chances are that if one was seen somewhere there would likely be more in that place."

The spot where the attack took place is also close to the Crocodile Creek safari park, which is home to over 6,000 Nile crocodiles, alligators and snakes.

Nile crocodiles occur across Africa including in South Africa, where their range is predominantly in the north and east of the country.

These large reptiles can grow up to 19 feet long and weigh as much as 1,600 pounds.

Nile crocodiles are the most deadly species of crocodilian—the order that includes alligators and crocodiles—on Earth. According to CrocBITE, the worldwide crocodilian attack database, they are responsible for hundreds of deaths every year. Exact figures are unknown, however, as attacks tend to take place in areas where they are less likely to be reported.

According to the IUCN Red List, there are between 50,000 and 70,000 mature Nile crocodiles. They are considered a species of least concern with a stable population. They are, however, facing threats as a result of human conflict.

In Kenya, where crocodiles attack cattle, farmers have started poisoning them with pesticide-laced meat. Many crocodiles are also killed in retaliation for human deaths.

They are also hunted for their meat, while their blood, fat, brains and organs are harvested for use in traditional medicine.

Nile crocodile seen in Sudan
A Nile Crocodile seen in Sudan. There are believed to be between 250,000 and 500,000 of the animals in the wild. ASHRAF SHAZLY / Contributor/Getty Images