Only in Australia.
Matt Wright is famous for risking his life to relocate crocodiles and other dangerous critters on his National Geographic show “Outback Wrangler.” However, the Aussie wildlife expert is now being accused of jeopardizing his son’s safety as well after filming the toddler wrangling a massive snake.
“Learning the ropes,” reads the caption to the controversial clip, which the former Australian army soldier and crocodile egg collector uploaded to Instagram last week.
The nerve-wracking footage shows Wright’s 2-year-old son Banjo on a lawn tugging the tail of what looks to be a massive Olive python — Australia’s second-largest snake with a maximum length of over 10 feet long. At one point, the colossal constrictor, which is several times the boy’s size, tries to wrap itself around a wooden pillar, prompting Dad to urge Banjo to “pull him out.”
After yanking at the snake for several seconds, the bewildered tot runs towards Wright, who is standing by the snake’s head. The “award-winning tourism operator” instructs Banjo to return to the reptile’s tail while avoiding the serpent’s teeth.
“Quick, grab him, he’s going to bite Dad,” Wright shouts after his son scrambles to the back end.
The reptile corralling stunt divided viewers with many accusing the TV host of putting his progeny in peril.
“Everything about this is stupid and wrong,” condemned one disapproving commenter.
“This child is not old enough to make an accurate assessments on what snakes are safe and what are not,” another critic wrote, adding that the animal handling session could inspire the boy to grab a venomous serpent in the future.
“Snake is not a toy,” protested one aghast gawker, while another wrote, “In America they would call child services lol.”
However, other armchair animal experts applauded Wright for exposing his son to nature early.
“He’s teaching her not to be afraid and to respect the animal gently and humanely at such a young age,” gushed one fan.
Others compared Banjo to a kiddie version of the late “Crocodile Hunter” Steve Irwin, who similarly courted controversy in 2004 after feeding a croc while holding his then-baby son Bob.
This isn’t the first time the celebrity beast master has gotten in hot water over his animal handling. In 2017, Wright was accused of animal cruelty after allegedly duct-taping the jaws of a 16-foot crocodile that he captured from an Australian swamp.
However, like in the case of his son’s snake handling, fans were quick to flock to the croc catcher’s defense.
“Well considering most times these crocs are being relocated as they have clashed with humans/livestock and so if good people don’t relocate them, some person will just shoot it,” wrote one defender.
Another commented, “The tape is to protect those relocating the animal. It’s never taped above the nostrils or eyes.”