Meet the Monster Croc Wrangler: My pet croc is 17ft

Matt Wright says his hair-raising Nat Geo Wild show shouldn't put you off visiting Australia's remote north

Matt Wright

How monstrous are the crocodiles in the Northern Territory?

The biggest that we’ve caught on the show is around 18ft. They’re pretty big and they weigh in around 8-900 kilos. My pet croc is 17ft but he weighs in around a ton because he doesn’t move around too much.

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You have a pet croc?

Yeah, he’s called Tripod because he’s got three legs and I’ve had him for about four or five years. I pulled him out of a croc park. He hangs in the backyard. I can’t release him because he’s been in captivity for so long. He either wouldn’t survive or he’d cause a problem because he’s so used to humans. You can’t have an animal of that size coming up the back of your boat saying “g’day, can you give me a fish.”

Matt and his pet croc Tripod say cheese
Wright and his pet croc Tripod say cheese

What does he eat?

I keep the freezer full of pig meat and give him a bit here and there. He might eat a leg a week.

Do you have any other unusual pets?

I have eight snakes in an enclosure in my bedroom.

So why do crocodiles need to be wrangled?

Some people say they need to be shot because they’re dangerous. Very few people say they need to be looked after and protected, which is why I do it.

We try to move large crocs that are causing a problem and put them in a place where they’re not causing a problem. Sometimes I can’t release it back into the wild because I’m removing a problem from one area and putting it into another area. When that happens they’ll go to a croc park or farms where they’ve got massive breeding areas so they’re happy.

Do you only wrangle crocodiles?

No, I started as a mustering pilot and mustering on the ground – mustering being rounding up cattle. In Australia, people have got massive properties so one paddock could be anywhere between 50 to 100 sq km with 2000 cattle in there. I bring the cattle in and catch wild cattle, wild horses and wild bulls. A lot of animals in Australia get shot because they’re feral, they’re a nuisance. So we try and make a use for that animal and look after them as best we can.

What’s in it for you?

I love the adventure. I love to get out there and ride cattle.

Monster Croc Wrangler
Wright stops to enjoy the view

The Northern Territory looks beautiful as well as slightly terrifying….

It is beautiful – massive gravel plains, sand dunes, waterfalls, fishing to die for especially just after the wet season. It’s not just a show about wrestling crocodiles; we’re also showcasing what we have in the far north of Australia. Yes it is a bit warm but it’s a great adventure up there. It’s the last frontier. It’s one of the best places on Earth.

What’s the best way to see it?

It depends on how much cash you’ve got to spend – you take a bus tour, a four-wheel drive, a chopper.

And you run your own tours?

Yep, I run a few tours from heli-fishing and deep-sea fishing to one-day or overnight safaris where we take people up in a chopper and on an airboat tour through the wetlands.

So what should you do if you do meet a crocodile?

Get out of there real quickly.

Monster Croc Wrangler is on Nat Geo Wild at 8pm. For more information on Matt Wright’s tours, go to mattwright.com.au

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