Friday, November 11, 2011

Tasted And Rejected by a Nile Crocodile

Dan the day after the crocodile attack.  Photo courtesy of Joe Richardson.
On November 11th each year we celebrate a special event.  It was on November 11, 1960 that my husband, Dan Livingstone, and Joe Richardson escaped from the jaws of a Nile crocodile.  Dan was a young research biologist at Duke University and Joe was his graduate student.  It was their first of many trips to Africa. 

Dan and Joe were in the middle of Lake Chishi, Zambia, in a rubber boat taking soundings of the lake (measuring the depth of the water at various positions) in preparation for taking cores of the lake for ecological study.  Suddenly a crocodile attacked, first scraping Joe across the buttocks.  Joe jumped in the water, and the croc came up under the boat. As Dan was trying to kick the croc away it grabbed Dan by the foot through the bottom of the boat.  Now the boat was sinking, but Dan managed to kick loose and he too joined Joe in the water.  Fortunately the crocodile was intent upon sinking the boat and stayed with the boat.  Joe and Dan swam for over two hours before safely reaching the shore.  Both have made many trips back to Africa in connection with their research without encountering another crocodile.

Dan in Africa in the early 1980s.

Dan, this September, enjoying a tour of Italy.
Dan and Joe are known as the "only ecologists who have been tasted and rejected by a Nile crocodile."


  1. Holy cow! What an incredible story. - Mag

  2. WOW! and double WOW!!!