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Burglars Stay Away, As Melbourne Nurse Has 3 Crocodile Pets

A Melbourne nurse Vicki Lowing, 53, has been domesticating crocodiles for more than 30 years. She claims, her reptiles are now totally domesticated, reports The Sun.  Her neighbours keep their distance and trespassers or burglars,
PTI September 10, 2010 11:37 IST
A Melbourne nurse Vicki Lowing, 53, has been domesticating crocodiles for more than 30 years. She claims, her reptiles are now totally domesticated, reports The Sun.  

Her neighbours keep their distance and trespassers or burglars, unsurprisingly, have never been a problem.

Vicki has  three crocodiles  in her bungalow.  

She also claims she can communicate telepathically with 14-year-old Johnie, a 5ft freshwater female weighing 12kg.

Saltwater croc Jilfia is aged three and at 8ft and 30kg, she is already the size of a ten-year-old child.

While little freshwater croc Fovian, who is only 1.5ft long, lives in the bath.

Despite Johnie nipping her a decade ago, there have been no nasty injuries from the notorious predators.

But Vicki admits she has to keep her distance from saltwater beast Jilfia because she's got a nastier temper than the others.

Vicki takes them all for walks whenever they need a bit of exercise.

She said: "I'm convinced crocs are psychic. They don't look like they do much but there's a lot going on behind those eyes.

"Johnie is definitely psychic. The way she looks at me sometimes, I know she's trying to tell me things.

"She has definitely communicated with me telepathically. It usually happens when she feels a bit crook and she wants me to know she needs some extra TLC."

All the crocs are allowed to wander around Vicki's bungalow.

But she has to keep them separate. If they ever get too close, the territorial creatures are liable to take chunks out of each other.

Vicki said: "My son Andrew just has to lump it. The crocs don't really bother him but they certainly bother his friends and girlfriends.

"The latest girlfriend did a runner as soon as she saw Johnie, which was a bit unfortunate."  

When Johnie the croc wants walkies, her owner makes it snappy.  Johnie - a female - rules the roost at the Lowing home. Her favourite time of the day is meal time.

"She's just like a cat or dog in that she knows when the fridge door opens there is a good chance of a snack, so she shuffles in for a feed," Vicki Lowing said.

Chicken wings are her favourite, along with whiting and red meat.

Lowing said her son Andrew, 15, and Johnie, 13, experienced sibling rivalry. "Sometimes Andrew goes to have a shower after school and Johnie's already in there and not keen to share the space," she said.

Andrew turns on the cold water tap and watches the cranky croc beat it. It's only when Johnie barricades Andrew in the bathroom that Vicki has to sort it out.

Andrew, an aspiring vet, should not have to share the shower. Johnie has her own heated pool which takes up most of the lounge room.

Most rooms have heaters and UV lights to keep her toasty.

Lowing's passion for reptiles began as a girl growing up in the country.

And two other crocs - Fovian and Jilfia, both 2.

Jilfia makes Johnie look positively tame. The savage salt water crocodile lives in his own heated pool in a rear bungalow.

Frozen rats fill the freezers at the Lowing home. But sometimes the inmates are hungry for each other.

Johnie used to share her pool with a salmon catfish, which had thorny spines on its fins.

Lowing realised the croc wasn't getting on with her pool pal when she saw bite marks on the fish. The catfish didn't pull through, but it had the last laugh.

Johnie is being treated at the Lort Smith Animal Hospital for welts inside of her mouth.

Lowing has put her reptiles on show to help pay the heating and feeding costs.

Vicky said a lot of people think she's "queer", but she does not care.

The family cat had learnt to keep its distance from the three crocodile pets, but Lowing's husband had not been so accepting.

After asking her to choose between him and the crocodiles, Lowing got a divorce.