An Italian free-diver with nerves of steel filmed a crocodile face to face with him under the water.
Even though he was at the mercy of the reptilian beasts, cameraman Bartolomeo Bove said he doubted the giant crocs would eat him because he was too large to make an easy meal.
In the clip, recorded in Banco Chinchorro, Mexico, the diver swims directly in front of one of the animals with his arm outreached, holding his underwater camera.
He even appears to scratch the apex predator on the chin, even though it has the strength to tear his arm off.
In one breathtaking shot, the camera gets a close-up of the crocodile’s teeth and a view straight down its mouth.
Bartolomeo admitted the risk to himself in the caption of the video, writing: “For those who are wondering why they don’t attack me and instead they let me approach them undisturbed, the answer is that they could attack at any moment if they had the opportunity.”
He said that although the crocodiles he films are bigger than he is, they judge humans as “a less convenient prey” because it is easier to kill and eat a smaller animal.
The diver also explained his daredevil approach in approaching the crocs head-on, climbing that this is actually less dangerous than the alternative.
He wrote: “The ‘safest’ way to approach these crocodiles is directly in front of them due to their limited visual range and at their same level or below them in the water column.
“Straight in front of them because usually when they strike, they snap to the side, they do not lunge forward with a bite.”
Bartolomeo shared a series of crocodile videos on his Instagram page @Bartolomeobove and the clips have been watched thousands of times by impressed animal lovers.
One admirer wrote: “Only a great passion accompanied by amazing courage can make you go beyond the fear that you surely feel every now and then.
“Keep it up and beware, I’m scared just by seeing the clips.”
A second fan wrote: “Beautiful! In Colombia, I managed to get close to a 4-meter alligator, which was standing in the river fishing at dawn.
“They are beautiful animals.”