An elderly reptile farmer was devoured by 40 of his own crocodiles after he fell into their enclosure, Cambodian police have said. Luan Nam, 72, was ripped to shreds by dozens of the beasts after he attempted to move one that had laid eggs. Police in Siem Reap said Mr Nam was pulled into the reptile’s cage after it “attacked the stick” he was using to goad it out.
Mey Savry, the local police chief, said that officers found the man’s body punctured by bite marks and missing limbs.
Crocodiles reportedly ate both his arms and one of the farmer’s legs.
Mr Savry explained that Mr Nam was “chasing” the crocodile out of an egg-laying cage when the incident occurred.
When he fell into the enclosure, the other reptiles “pounced” and attacked the man “until he was dead”.
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Mr Nam’s body is now with his family in the village of Po Banteay Chey, and they are expected to sell the crocodiles in his care.
Speaking to AFP, commune chief May Sameth said his family members had tried for years to persuade the elderly man to stop farming the reptiles.
But he had continued while serving as president of the local crocodile farmers’ association.
Crocodile farming is a long-running commercial practice in Cambodia, where the animals are bred for their eggs, meat and body parts since the 1940s.
A regional report issued in 2016 estimated that the country’s roughly 900 farms held a captive population of 250,000.
Farmers capturing the reptiles have caused a dip in their natural numbers, and Mr Nam’s death isn’t the first recorded at an enclosure.
In 2019, a two-year-old girl died after she wandered into an enclosure on her family’s crocodile farm, also in Siem Reap.
Rom Roath Neary entered the enclosure via a gap in the fence and was found by her father after being eaten by the reptiles.
Her father returned home to find his daughter missing and made the horrifying discovery of her fate when he saw crocodiles fighting over her remains.
The grieving dad climbed into the pit and retrieved what was left of her skull.
Police lieutenant Och Sophien told local media that the toddler’s mother had lost track of Rom while caring for her newborn child.
The official said the crocodiles killed the young girl, “leaving only her skull”.