Does Model Survive Face-To-Face Photo Shoot With Crocodile?

  •  Fearless Italian model travelled to a lagoon in the middle of Banco Chinchorro, Mexico, home to 700 crocodiles
  •  Spent 10 hours over five days learning about the reptiles and swimming with them before photo shoot
  •  Roberta Mancino said she was fulfilling a lifelong dream to prove that crocodiles are ‘not bad animals’

By Naomi Leach For Mailonline
Published: 11:43 GMT, 16 September 2015 | Updated: 14:11 GMT, 16 September 2015

A fearless daredevil diver came face-to-face with a four metre long American crocodile in an extraordinary photo-shoot.

Italian thrill-seeker Roberta Mancino fulfilled a long-held dream by swimming with the reptiles in the Gulf of Mexico.

Travelling 30 miles from the coast to a lagoon in the middle of the Banco Chinchorro – home to roughly 700 of the reptiles – Mancino was keen to learn about their behaviour.

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Face To Face Photo Shoot With Crocodile
Pleased to meet you: Roberta extends a friendly hand out to one of the wild crocodiles she encountered in Banco Chinchorro
Face to face photo shoot with crocodile
The lagoon in the Gulf of Mexico is 30 miles away from the coast and is home to over 700 American crocodiles. Toothy grin: Roberta gets close to one of the reptiles and poses just inches away from his jaw

Filming over five days in June this year, she spent a total of 10 hours swimming with the crocodiles.

As the crocodiles became more comfortable in her presence, Roberta’s team were able to capture enchanting images of her just inches from the predators.

She said: ‘I have a list of animals which I would love to swim with, so it was one of my dreams to swim with crocodiles.

‘I have wanted to do this project for six years but I could never find someone to fund it because it is so dangerous.

‘I was about to go there myself without a sponsor and then social network TSU said that they would fund the production.’

Face to face photo shoot with crocodile
The Banco Chinchorro atoll reef is regarded as one of the the best places in the world to see American crocodiles. Here they can grow between 2.5 and 4 metres long
Face to face photo shoot with crocodile
Now that’s a snap: It has been a long-held dream for the Italian model to swim with the creatures and dispel negative perceptions of them
The model added: ‘The other reason I couldn’t make it happen for a long time is logistics – it’s a really hard place to get to.

‘You have to go to Cancun and then drive for five hours and then you have to take a boat for two hours.

‘It’s in the middle of nowhere.’

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The shoot in June took five days and around 10 hours of swimming with the crocodiles so that Mancini was familiar with their behaviour
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The model said: ‘Obviously I don’t want everyone to start swimming with crocodiles but I wanted to show that they are not bad animals’
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It is not unusual for tourists in Banco Chinchorro to swim with crocodiles but most divers keep a cautious distance from the creatures
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Risky business: ‘Nobody really knew what would happen as no one has really done this before – spending that long, that close, next to a crocodile without a mask,’ added Mancini
The Italian model didn’t just want to swim with the animals for the adrenaline rush – she was also keen to dispel some common misconceptions.
She said: ‘Obviously I don’t want everyone to start swimming with crocodiles but I wanted to show that they are not bad animals.
‘I had to stay in the water for a long time to get an understanding of the animals – that is why you see me at first going down with a mask.
‘We spent around 10 hours in the water with the crocodiles to learn about their behaviour.
‘Once I knew the animals were comfortable then I did the shots without the mask.
‘Nobody really knew what would happen as no one has really done this before – spending that long, that close, next to a crocodile without a mask.’
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Mancini spent time in the water making sure that the animals were comfortable before removing her mask for the shoot later in the week
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Face to face: One of the crocodiles and Mancini eye each other a few days before the extraordinary underwater photoshoot

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