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<   No. 1883   2008-03-23   >

Comic #1883

1 {scene: the cockpit}
1 Terry: Phew, We've managed to cross Europe without any further incident.
2 Stewardess: Yes, but we still need someone to land the plane safely. Someone who can remain icily calm in a crisis. That's the primary attribute required.
3 Steve: {entering the cockpit} Crikey! It's boring back there! The snakes have hardly bitten anyone, the crazy guy is tied up next to a sleepy police officer with a gun, and there are no crocs at all!
4 Steve: Anything I can do up here?
4 {Terry and the Stewardess look at each other meaningfully.}

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I'm currently planning a holiday to the Northern Territory of Australia, and reading the Lonely Planet's guidebook thereof. It contains the wonderful section:

Australia has two types of crocodiles: the freshwater and the estuarine, better known as the saltwater. Both are found in the northern part of the country, including the Northern Territory.

The saltwater crocodile is Australia's largest, heaviest, and most dangerous reptile, growing to over 6 metres in length. [..] Although those powerful jaws can crush a pig's skull in one bite, the croc first drowns its prey by rolling over and over.

The smaller freshwater crocs have narrower snouts and rarely exceed 3 metres in length, and are harmless to people unless provoked.

Well, I don't know about you, but if I see any sort of crocodile 3 metres in length, I'm not going to get close enough to see if it's harmless unless provoked or not.
2018-11-08 Rerun commentary: I have of course since been on that trip to the Northern Territory. I saw both saltwater and freshwater crocodiles and I even wrote about the difference between them (with photos) back in the rerun comments for strip #217. It turns out freshwater crocodiles are really not a huge issue. You can safely swim in water with freshwater crocodiles, as long as you don't provoke them. They're shy of humans and will generally move away. And in fact I did swim in water with freshwater crocodiles.

I kept a diary on my trip to the Northern Territory (as I do on all trips), and if you're interested you can read it in its entirety here, complete with photos.

EDIT: I fixed a typo in the transcript, which originally read "a sleepy police officer with a gnu". Although for accuracy I had to fix this, I couldn't let such a wonderful typo be lost to the world forever. You may imagine the typo version as an alternate realisation of this comic.

EDIT2: I fixed a typo in the above "EDIT" comment. It wasn't as fun.

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