It was 1997 when Muhammad Iwan, 41, saw some children playing with a newborn estuarine crocodile that fisherman had recently caught at Pangandaran Beach, in West Java. He bought the reptile for just 25,000 Indonesian Rupiah ($1.8), named it Kojek, and welcomed it into his family home in Sempur Sub-District, West Java, as a pet.
Fast forward two decades, that tiny crocodile has grown into a massive 200kg gentle giant that Muhammad claims would never hurt him and his family. It’s this gentle side of Kojek that has made him a star in Indonesia, with people traveling to Sempur from all corners of the archipelago just to see him interact with his human family . His already immense fame has recently reached new heights, thanks to social media. Amazing photographs showing Muhammad bathing the large 2.7m (8ft, 8in) apex predator in his front yard just meters away from his small children aged 2 and 10, went viral last week, sparking all kinds of reactions.