Words: Laura Jones
It’s Wednesday evening and Dingo Dinkelman is setting up a hammock with pillows in a 6×2 metre cage beside sweet Nugs, a Nile crocodile. Conrite Walls designed the cage especially for this thrilling event. It’s an escape-proof enclosure, resilient enough to face the onslaught of a 3-metre croc. Cameras are trained on the scene – the action is real, streaming live on Dingo’s YouTube channel. He’s talking about spending 12-hours in the cage tonight with Nugs (5pm to 5am). He’s even showing us a bucket that he will be using as a toilet, with a blanket for privacy, away from the eyes of the extra GoPros set up in and around the area. Amid the excitement and chatter, we’re meeting Kirsty, Lance, Sean, and the rest of the crew as Dingo explains how his latest adventure is going to go. If the unthinkable happens and he is bitten, there’s no telling how it will end since Nile crocodiles don’t just bite – they bite to eat.
A NIGHT IN THE CAGE
As a Nile herself, the most-dangerous crocodilian responsible for hundreds of attacks on humans annually, Nugs will undoubtedly keep Dingo awake throughout the night. This, despite Lance on standby to provide first aid. Welcome to Dingo Dinkelman’s Cage of Death, a 5-night series where he intends to spend the night not only with Nugs, but a green anaconda, a reticulated python, venomous rattlesnakes, a king cobra, and a black mamba.
It’s all systems go. Dingo’s in the enclosure commanding his crew like a pro, his body language is calculated. He stays low, but he’s moving about easily. We can see Nugs lying still in the corner. While Dingo is talking, Sean the camera guy shouts a sudden warning and Dingo reprimands,
“No Nugs! No!” as if Nugs were a pet wrecking the furniture. Nugs is going for Dingo’s hammock, snapping at it like it’s a Big Mac. As fast as she turned, she retires to absolute, unpredictable stillness and Dingo explains:
“What I am trying to show is even though Nugs is an apex predator and not a tame animal, humans can co-exist with magnificent animals. If I can co-exist for 12 hours in this small enclosure, how much easier would it be for people all around the world to live alongside these magnificent animals? That’s what it’s all about.”