By Luke Johnston
A brave snorkeller has captured crystal clear images of a deadly crocodile smiling for the camera after getting up close and personal with the snap happy predator.
Robert Smits was swimming in the mangroves of Jardines de la Reina, Cuba when he spotted the fierce-looking reptile.
Undeterred, the 34-year-old, from Kapellen in Belgium, took the opportunity to get some incredible snaps of his unique swimming pal and the usually deadly croc, even appeared to play along, flashing a toothy grin.
Robert said: “I was slightly nervous. It is a magnificent beast that can basically do whatever it wants to you.
“It is an enormous creature, which is very muscular and sort of a prehistoric powerful animal.
“That said, I wasn’t too scared. I relished every second of the encounter, as it is highly unlikely you get to have such an experience anytime soon, or anywhere else for that matter.
“The crocodile knew we were in the water and was interested in our presence, but was luckily pretty chilled out and not in an aggressive state.
“There is always risk involved when taking photographs of animals, even of your neighbourhood dog, as you never know how the animal will react to your presence.
“On a personal level, I think it is okay to take calculated risks so you can get shots that you want, without harming, relocating or doing anything to the animal.
“If the crocodile was aggressive towards me, I might have still stayed in the water, as long as I, or anyone else, wouldn’t hurt the crocodile or spoil things for future photographers.
“I don’t want to disturb the animals, but still would like to photograph nature as it is.
“Obviously, if this would harm the crocodile in any way, I would stop taking photographs and leave it be.
“In certain photographs, I am sure it is grinning! Maybe it is a show of dominance, with all the muscles and teeth showing or the crocodile might just be wondering why us humans get in the water with them.”