Man fights off croc by hitting its snout

A father survived a crocodile attack by repeatedly punching the reptile on the nose. The man, 37, was recovering in hospital last night after the 8ft crocodile grabbed his arm and hand in a waterhole where he was swimming with his two teenage daughters.

He fended off the reptile by hitting it several times on the snout before dragging himself to dry land. Doctors treated two large bites to his back and 10 puncture wounds to his wrist.

Although police said the injuries were not life threatening, the attack at Weipa, in the far north of Queensland state, is likely to raise questions about the need to cull the fast-growing crocodile population. The Northern Territory alone is believed to have close on 100,000 saltwater crocodiles, prompting calls for culling or legalised hunting.

Peter Graham, from the Weipa Town Authority, told the Australian Broadcasting Corporation: "There are just too many of them."

The waterhole where the attack happened is a well-known crocodile habitat. The challenge for wildlife staff will be to identify the croc and deal with it. That could mean removing it to another location, but it is unlikely to be killed.

The Queensland Department of Environment and Resource Management said it did not want to take crocodiles out of the wild "simply for the sake of it".