By Nathalie Bonney @nathaliebonney

IN A small pool of water in an Indonesian back yard, lives Kojek the crocodile

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Videographer / director: Jefta Images
Producer: Ruby Coote
Editor: Sonia Estal

Back yard water features are more likely to play host to fish, terrapins and turtles - but in the case of Irwan, he and his family share their back garden with a 200kg, 6 ft long crocodile.

Irwan, from Bogor, West Java, said: “I’ve lived with a crocodile for a long time. About 20 years now.

“Automatically he became part of my family. My family didn’t feel disturbed by it, and felt that it was unique having him in the family.”

Kojek spends his days in a small channel of water at the back of Irwan’s garden. The family's washing hangs right next to it and Irwan’s three children are free to play ballgames on the turquoise-green ceramic tiles parallel to the croc.

Because he’s been with the same family for 20 years, Kojek, according to Irwan, poses no threat to humans. In the whole time he’s lived with Irwan, there have been no accidents or injuries – to humans at least.

Irwan said: “When I first bought it from the fisherman's son, I got bitten. On the hand - since then, never again.

“He once grabbed a cat. The cat was curious and flitted in front of Kojek. The reflex was very quick and one stroke and it died.”

Irwan bought Kojek from a local fisherman, when the reptile was just 30 cm long, rescuing him for an early death. The fisherman believed Kojek was a lizard and therefore an unwanted pest.

He said: “I bought the crocodile from the fisherman's son. At the time, there were about three or four fisherman's children playing with the crocodiles but they said it was a lizard but I know a little about reptiles, and knew they were crocodiles.

“They said, they were going to kill it so I asked them not to. I pitied the animal so, I said I’d take the animal and give them money for it.”

Kojek is fed fresh fish and bathed on a weekly basis. Using a plastic kitchen brush, soap and hose, Irwan lovingly scrubs down Kojek from top to tail to stop moss growing on the croc.

Irwan said: “He doesn’t need any special treatment. If the pool water is dirty, I drain it, usually, once a week because it urinates and defecates in the pool. So, the water must be clean.

“For the skin treatment, usually I bathe the crocodile once a week at the same time I clean the pool. I brush its body, I brush its teeth, I brush everything.”

After living with the same family for so long Kojek has caught the attention of locals and is used to having his picture taken.

Irwan said: “Because I have been interacting with him for more than 20 years maybe the crocodile has considered me like a friend or adoptive parent or whatever.”