Video From Inside a Crocodile’s Mouth (Exclusive)

Over their monthlong expedition, photographer Trevor Frost and filmmaker Melissa Lesh set out to capture photos and videos of saltwater crocodiles that no one has seen before— the dinner's-eye view. They had nine successful deployments, which captured what is likely the first videos ever of a saltwater crocodile attack from the inside of its mouth.

When Frost first went to Australia a few years ago, he was shocked to find out that there are still crocodile hunters. He became fascinated with the subculture surrounding saltwater crocodiles, the largest living reptile. Saltwater crocodiles grow to about 20 feet in length and can weigh over 2,200 pounds. And if that doesn't seem like danger enough for a hunter, saltwater crocs have the strongest recorded bite force of any animal on the planet—anywhere between 3,000 and 5,000 pounds per square inch. That kind of force can easily crush a human skull. There were only an estimated 3,000 saltwater crocs left in Australia by 1970, but now some scientists say there are about 100,000 crocodiles in the Northern Territory alone. There may be 200,000 across all of northern Australia. This comeback is considered by many to be the result of the most successful predator conservation program in the world. 

Through his photography, Frost wanted to tell a complete story—one that included the culture around the crocodile industry as well as natural history elements—to help people see this prehistoric reptile in a different way. "Of course, to get good pictures, you have to get close, and you have to get into their lives," Frost says. "Even something as simple as a tripod being up on the boat can be dangerous when you're doing this kind of work." Because the crocs are so secretive and aggressive, Frost stayed in a boat while he deployed remote-controlled toy boats jerry-rigged to hold embedded cameras. He maneuvered them around crocodile habitat in the hope that the vessels would get attacked. "I definitely have an enormous respect for the creature, and my heart is always going," he says. "I'm always thinking about every little thing that could go wrong to make sure that I stay safe and that I keep my team safe as well ... So far I'm still alive, and I've got all my fingers and toes." 

Trevor Frost is a National Geographic Expeditions Council grantee.

Read a Q&A with Trevor here.

PRODUCER/EDITOR: Carolyn Barnwell
SERIES PRODUCER: Jennifer Shoemaker
GRAPHICS: Babak Shahbodaghloo and Alex Wenchel