The close encounter, shared on Robert’s official Instagram page, occurs during an attempt to gauge the happiness of the newly relocated crocodile, Casper.
After swapping enclosures with a crocodile named Bronco – a starring attraction at the Irwin’s zoo in Australia – Robert is keen to test Casper’s comfort in his new environment.
Explaining that the best way to do so is to see how strongly he reacts to food, the 18-year-old zookeeper boldly volunteers to feed him.
Luring Casper to the edge of the water with meat, Robert appears delighted when he rises out of the water and seems to lunge for the food. The situation quickly escalates, however, when Casper continues to lunge for Robert.
“Bail! Bail! Bail!” Robert tells the team as they flee the enclosure, hotly pursued by the charging reptile.
Though he described the close call as an “almost died sort-of-thing” during an interview with Entertainment Tonight, Robert appeared entirely undeterred from his work.
“It was the first time I ever actually had to completely ditch the food, run and jump over a fence while there was a crock right at my heels,” He admitted. “A massive, dominant male.”
“It was definitely, definitely scary,” he said. “I think it’s one of those things when you’re feeding a crocodile you’d be silly not to be nervous. For me, it’s a really exciting adrenaline rush.”
“For me, crocodiles have been my speciality and what I love to do is to work with these incredible animals because of my dad, he instilled that passion.”