Bill Boesenberg, The NJ Crocodile Hunter
A big to do over a small Caiman led a newspaper man to meet the NJ Crocodile Hunter.
In 2016 Snakes-N-Scales turns 20! This and other articles that will appear over the course of the next year will highlight our roots, our people, our animals and our history. All of which we are very proud!
The “NJ Crocodile Hunter” moniker was not one Bill gave to himself, rather it was bestowed upon him by Thomas E. Franklin of the The Record newspaper in 2005. This occurred due to Franklin encountering Bill on at least 2 separate occasions. The first was when Bill was called to New Milford NJ to help the local law enforcement people with an illegal Spectacled Caiman that had to be removed from the house. The second meeting was when Bill was doing a show in Ridgewood for a group of children.
NJ Crocodile Hunter Rescue
Here’s Bill carrying the caiman to his van. It’s a relatively small specimen, though by the reaction of many concerned one would have thought it was a Godzilla hiding in a fish tank! The article below is full of exaggerations and hyperbole.
The comparison with a hero of his, Steve Irwin, is most flattering and Bill is quick to point out that his is a much more modest contribution to the causes of rescue and education.
We redacted the caiman owner’s name, as there is no point in reopening old wounds. The starkest point that stands out is the is Hannibal Lecter comment made by Sgt. Nesoff. It is certainly hyperbole of the lowest kind to compare an insane fictional murderer to a caiman! The animal wasn’t in bad shape and the biggest problem Bill saw at the time was that the cage was left uncovered! So the caiman could have easily gotten out into the living area where a little girl played.–Though it is much more likely to have hidden under the couch than bothered any children.
A near relative of the Caiman is the Alligator, very different in temperament. Bill acquired Blue in 1998. Then he was just out of being a baby, at about 15 pounds.
Today Blue is an impressive 100+ pounds. And as he is now a mature gator he needs his mouth restrained with a little tape. If Alligators can’t open their mouths, Bill has found it actually keeps them calmer, and everyone else safer. he is quick to point out that the gator is predictable, it’s the people that are unpredictable.
This was certainly NOT the first nor the last animal Bill would have to run to catch, pick-up or have dropped off. It continues to this day. The incidents become hazy as there are so many! Today, possessing over 300 animals the NJ Crocodile Hunter owner of Snakes-N-Scales is more likely to decline an animal than accept it, though he’s always willing to help with information and will take certain creatures if he needs them for his educational pursuits.
NJ Crocodile Hunter Education
Bill and Dasiy doing their shtick in Ridgewood NJ in 2004. This is the program that produced the wonderful article by Thomas, below. This became the iconic NJ Crocodile Hunter photo.
It’s a great article! One to be proud of, and Bill is!
This is a much more likely place to find our NJ Crocodile Hunter these days, though this picture is from 2008. Out with his animals teaching kids how wonderful and amazing they are! All the animals pictured here are still alive. The big snake is a Burmese Python called, “Hernia,” the Alligator is, “Blue,” the Asian Water monitor is, “Elizardbeth,” and the little Nile Crocodile is, “Ainu.” All but Ainu can still be seen working with Bill.
Here he is in 2015. The Park Ridge Library kicked off Summer Reading with their first program – Snakes-n-Scales with Bill Boesenberg.