By Nelson Groom and Eko Siswono Toyudho
A chubby 200kg crocodile who guzzles 5kg of goldfish a day has become an unlikely star after being welcomed into an Indonesian family’s home as a pet.
Most shy away from apex predators, but when Muhammad Iwan, 41, saw children playing with a newborn estuarine crocodile fishermen had caught inPangandaran Beach, Indonesia in 1997, he bought it for $2 AUD (25,000 Indonesian Rupiah).
More than two decades later, Kojek’s penchant for fish has seen him balloon to such a heft frame he has been propelled to notoriety in his homeland – even drawing in spectators who travel to visit him.
Amazing photographs show Muhammad bathing the 2.7m (8ft8in) croc in the yard of his home in Sempur Sub-District, West Java, as his young children, aged two and 10, play just metres away.
But Muhammad insists the 21-year-old croc is completely tame and would never attack him or his youngsters.
Muhammad said: “When I saw a group of fishermen carrying Kojek, I bought him immediately for 25,000 rupiah.
“When he was little Kojek had a fierce nature and even bit my finger, but he soon grew tame when I took him into my home.
“Kojek looks like a beast, but he loves to interact with humans.
“I love crocodiles and I care a lot about Kojek, and I think he sees me as his father. He’s a good pet.
“His treatment is not too special, I clean his water once a week and give him skin care and brush his teeth.
When Muhhamad first bought Rupiah, he measured just 25cm long and could live comfortably in a medium-sized aquarium.
Muhammad originally began feeding his unusual pet just carp but now forks out roughly $5 AUD (50,000 Indonesian Rupiah) a week on fresh goldfish, feeding Kojek between 1.5kg and 5kg of the fish every day.
Because of his online stardom, tourists from as far afield as America, Australia and even Europe have visited Muhammad’s home to see the gargantuan reptile for themselves.
And the dad-of-two claims some of them have even offered him up to $100,000 AUD (1 billion Indonesian Rupiah) to snap up the creature for themselves.
Muhammad claims to bathe the croc, brush his teeth and change the water in his pond once a week to keep him healthy and considers the cold-blooded reptile to be part of the family.
The 41-year-old added: “Many people who come to see Kojek have offered to buy him for hundreds of millions of rupiah.”