3 October 2012
A REASSURING hug from his mum Terri and a pat on the shoulder from big sister Bindi was all Robert Irwin needed before hurling himself into the freshwater crocodile pen at Australia Zoo.
While Robert, standing at 1.32m tall, showed no fear in front of the hungry 1.5m crocs, the pop of their jaws wolfing down garfish was a reminder this was a dangerous act.
"It was so fun, it’s absolutely awesome," eight-year-old Robert said with the enthusiasm of his late father Steve.
"I love feeding alligators, but feeding these guys is just awesome.
"They’re a lot bigger and the freshwater crocodiles are not as big as saltwater crocodiles but they’re still really fun.
"It was definitely really exciting. I was a tiny bit scared, but it’s fun when they’re walking right at you it’s kinda funny watching them striking up, but I wasn’t too nervous.
"I’m definitely going to go back and do it again."
Having watched footage of his dad feeding the freshwater crocodiles, Robert knew exactly what to do.
"I love watching his DVDs to get a few tips," he said.
"I had a bucket that had food in it, you have to make sure the bucket is down so if they’re striking you don’t get bitten on the leg ... also make sure you’re not too close."
"I’m extremely proud of Robert. It’s been something where probably not more than 500 times a day he asks if he can do that," Terri said.
The milestone comes as Terri, Bindi and Robert return to prime time television with the premiere of Steve Irwin’s Wildlife Warriors on Channel Ten on Saturday night.
The series will follow the Irwins and a team of wildlife warriors as they continue Steve’s fight.
"We’re actually carrying on where my dad left off," Robert said.