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    His new Netflix show Wild Croc Territory has seen fans compare him to the late Crocodile Hunter Steve Irwin, who died in 2006 from a stingray injury.

    And while he’s also putting his life on the line, fellow Aussie croc wrangler Matt Wright, 42, admits he couldn’t be more honoured by the comparisons.

    He says: “Steve did his thing, put conservation and Australia on the map on a massive scale, which was incredible – he did it very well.

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    “If I could get to half of that capacity and awareness and have that voice like he did I would be amazed. Being compared to Steve Irwin is an absolute honour.

    “He’s one of Australia’s icons – what he did was huge.”

    After building his own TV profile with two Nat Geo series, Wild Territory and Outback Wrangler, Matt is joined by wife Kaia and son Banjo, three, in Wild Croc Territory. “The family adds a new dimension,” he says.

    In one episode the couple, expecting a daughter soon, wrestle a croc while pre-schooler Banjo happily plays nearby.

    Matt laughs: “I take grown men out from Sydney and Melbourne on trips and they act a lot worse than Banjo.

    “They can’t follow instructions. We’ve taught him from a young age about snakes and spiders – he needs to know what is dangerous, such as with choppers landing, knowing not to get too close.”

    In the show, Matt and his team are seen tempting away problem crocs, who have become a danger to humans and cattle, in order to relocate them.

    Some of the crocs find a new home at his Top End Safari Park – including the late star of the show, the remarkable Bonecruncher.

    Despite his terrifying name he was missing part of his tail, jaw and a few teeth. And he let Matt pat him like a dog.

    But sadly it recently emerged that Bonecruncher had been killed by another male. “Everyone was devastated,” says Matt. “One of the staff rang me up crying going: ‘Bonecruncher’s been killed.’

    “He’s been with us for eight years and was the only croc ever I’ve been able to do stuff with for photoshoots.

    “Me in the water wrestling a big crocodile, that’s Bone-cruncher.

    “Everyone is like: ‘That photo’s not real.’ Yes, it f***ing is – that’s a real saltwater crocodile and yes, I’m the one in the water with it.

    “This series is his legacy, definitely.

    “Crocs get branded with their own persona, which is ‘man-eating animal’.

    “If you go in the water they will eat you, there’s no doubt about that, but they’re quite lazy and have all got different attitudes.

    “Bone-cruncher touched many people’s lives and showed what crocodiles aren’t.”

    Running his tourism business means Matt has had plenty of job applications from wannabe influencers who fancy showing off.

    He says: “We have a lot of people looking for fame. When I put out applications to come and work for me we have people go: ‘I’ll work really hard,’ then second day into it they’re like: ‘I shouldn’t be washing dishes. When do I get to start doing crocodile work?’

    “Get the f*** out. People don’t want to work, they want selfies for social media.

    “We had cleaners and it looked on their social media that they were living the life of Riley.

    “Every candid post was bikinis, beach, paradise when in reality you’re out there scrubbing s*** houses.

    “People shouldn’t live behind the bulls***.”

    On his own dealings with social media the Outback Wrangler adds: “It’s interesting that people will try to lead a false life through their social media. You can use it to build up your profile for important environmental issues but unfortunately you’ve got to deal with the devil to get there.”

    So what’s next?

    Matt says: “Kaia is having a baby and we’ve got a place down on the Gold Coast for the time being.

    “So, I’ll hang out with the boy and go for a surf while Kaia is looking after the newborn.

    “We’re creating more experiences for people to come over to Australia to see and be involved in.

    “However, for now I’ll enjoy a bit of downtime with the family.”

    ● Wild Croc Territory with Matt Wright is available to stream now on Netflix.


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