Crocodile iStock

A four-year-old boy was bitten in the hand today (Shabbat) by a crocodile during a visit to the Crocoloco crocodile farm in the Arava.

MDA paramedics provided him medical treatment, and he was evacuated by helicopter to Soroka Hospital in Be'er Sheva in serious condition.

The hospital said he stabilized in the trauma room, and was rushed to the operating room. Police are investigating the circumstances of the incident, and summoned the farm owner for questioning under warning tomorrow.

The boy's mother, Hanan Jaffali, said from the hospital: "We went on a regular Saturday trip to the crocodile farm near us. We went in, had fun, and wanted to go out," she said. "He probably wanted to say hello to the crocodile, so he went back and stroked him - and the crocodile just bit him. We heard screams, they held the boy and literally pulled him out of the crocodile's mouth. I gave him care and calmed him down. He lost a lot of blood, I hope he's fine."

MDA medic Gadi Gohar and MDA paramedic Danny Aviv said "when we arrived at the scene, we saw a four-year-old boy in his mother's arms. He suffered injury to his hand and was in pain. We saw bite marks and bleeding. "With the help of an IDF medical force, we provided him with life-saving medical treatment that included medication for pain. We transferred him to a MDA helicopter that landed nearby and evacuated him to Soroka Hospital in moderate to severe condition."

They added that "the boy wandered alone for a few moments, approached the young crocodile pool against the instructions - and put his hand through the fence. One of the young crocodiles grabbed his palm with his teeth and scratched it." "The boy was quickly pulled over by the caregiver who noticed what was happening. MDA Sapir volunteers quickly arrived in the area, bandaged the bleeding hand and even applied a tourniquet."