Picayune man chosen as "Cajun Croc Hunter"

COVINGTON, LA (WLOX) - Jimmy Cochran is used to dealing with gators. But he's about to launch a whole new adventure: hunting Australian crocodiles. The Picayune man has been chosen for a new reality show called "Cajun Croc Hunters."

You see, Cochran works at the Insta-Gator Ranch in Covington, Louisiana.

"You can feel his body if you want to, just kind of ease into it," he told a group of youngsters, as they reached out gingerly to pet an alligator.

Cochran has had plenty of practice handling alligators during his three years working at the "Insta-Gator" ranch and hatchery in Covington, Louisiana.

But beginning next month, he'll be rounding-up killer crocodiles in the Philippines. It seems an influx of Australian saltwater crocs is eating local villagers.

"I will be catching what they say is going to be a record crocodile. They're saying between 25 and 35 feet long, which is unheard of. But we'll see when we get there and handle it," he said.

"If you look at their eyes and their nostrils, you don't see them sticking really high off their head," Cochran told a group of summer campers, while holding a large gator head.

Cochran has handled some awfully larger gators, some with bad attitudes. But that's quite different from  facing off with an angry 30 foot croc.

"A lot of ropes. A lot of people. And you use your brain a lot.  It's not always the toughest guy, a lot of times it's the smartest," he said.

"See his clear eyelid?  He can see through that in the water. Helps protect his eye when he's underwater," Cochran explained, as he held a medium sized gator which had its mouth taped shut.

Cochran and his fellow educators at the gator ranch teach the youngsters a healthy respect for alligators, an attitude to replace outright fear of the animals.

So why was he among the four chosen to star in "Cajun Croc Hunter" out of a field of hundreds?

"I think it has a lot to do with what I actually do as far as catching the animals without hurting them.  And probably personality. I'm in front of people a lot. Every day I'm in front of big groups," he said.

Cochran leaves for the Philippines early next month to begin shooting the new TV program.

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