A nurse, who lives with three pet crocodiles ... and her 16-year-old son
It's not unusual for pet-owners to wake up with their animal at the end of the bed.
It happens to 16-year-old Andrew Lowing quite often because his mother Vicki lets her three prized pets
have the run of their house.
The only difference is that
Johnie, Fovian and Jilfia
Snappy families: Vicki Lowing cradles one of her her pets on the sofa at home
Time to wake up: Johnie - the 14-year-old freshwater female - crawls across Andrew's bed
But Vicki - nicknamed Croc Lady in Melbourne - isn't worried that Andrew might become breakfast in bed for
the giant reptiles because they have lived together so long she believes the beasts are now fully domesticated.
The 53-year-old nurse has kept crocodiles for more than 30 years
and even claims she can communicate
telepathically with 14-year-old Johnie, a 1.5 metre (5ft) freshwater
female who weighs 12kg.
Cat scan: The suspicious family feline gives its larger housemate the once over
Nice crocs: Vicki admits to getting funny looks while walking he pets
'I'm convinced crocs are psychic,' said Vicki, stating a belief that is often put forward in Australia.
'They don't look like they do much but there's a lot going on behind
'Johnie is definitely psychic. The
way she looks at me sometimes, I know she's trying to tell me things.
'She has definitely communicated with
me telepathically. It usually happens when she feels a bit crook and
she wants me to know she needs some extra TLC.
'I get a shiver like I've seen a
ghost and I know she's trying to get through to me.
'I've had Johnie the longest and
she's very domesticated. She and Andrew used to compete as youngsters
'If Johnie ever thought he was
getting too much attention from she'd pinch his toys and hide them.
'When I tell her off she goes into a
corner and sulks. She can be a real madam.'
Competing for attention with her son and her oldest pet are
cranky saltwater creature Jilfia and her little snapper
Three-year-old Jilifia is 2.4 metres (8ft) long and weighs 30kg, meaning it is already the size of a ten year old.
Vicki admits to keeping her
distance from Jilfia because the saltwater snapper has a
nastier temper than the others.
doesn't actually know if Jilfia is a boy or a girl because crocodiles
crocs don't have external sex organs and their sex can't usually be
determined until they have an examination at the age of five.
Lounge lizard: Each of the two oldest creatures have their own water tanks and sunlamps
The baby of the trio is freshwater Fovian, who at 45cm long and just 4kg in weight is so small he - or she - lives in the bath.
Johnie and Jilfia have their own
separate ponds because, being
territorial creatures, they are liable to
take chunks out of each other, which means when one is in the bedroom, another is in the lounge and the other is in
Each have their own heaters and
sunlamps to maintain their body heat at a constant 25 to 30 degrees
C, which is essential to keep them healthy and active,
but they are also allowed to wander
Pets at the vets: Vicki's crocodiles get all the health care they need because Johnie once bite her while ill
Explaining her fascination with the
creatures, Vicki said: 'I watched a movie called An Alligator Named
Daisy back in the 1960s and from then on I was hooked.
'Mum got me a snake at four and I got
my first croc at 22.
'People who know me say I'm the Croc
Lady. I don't mind.
A night on the rep-tiles: One of the crocs relaxes on the floor at home
'I look after them properly and
they're well cared for. They get the best chicken meat to eat and all
the health care they need.
'My girl friends were
shocked at first but they've gradually gotten used to them.
Apart from when they take over the
bathroom. There have been a few screams when people go to the loo.
'I don't think I'll run out of space
for them here at home and if I do I'll move into a bigger place.
Are we there yet? The creatures are as welcome in the family car as they are at home
'I'm going to have crocs 'til the day
I die, for sure.'
Amazingly, despite Johnie nipping her a decade ago while ill, there have been no injuries from the notorious predators.
Vicki admits neighbours keep their distance when she takes her pets for walks
but on the plus side she has never had problems with burglars.
Perhaps the biggest problem it presents for the Lowing family is that it tends to scare off Andrew's girlfriends.
'The crocs don't really bother Andrew
but they certainly bother his friends and girlfriends,' said Vicki.
'The latest girlfriend did a runner
as soon as she saw Johnie, which was a bit unfortunate.'