Human babies as crocodile bait: hunting practices of the British in Colonial India Indian Biodiversity Talks: Human babies as crocodile bait: hunting practices of the British in Colonial India The idea of using live human babies as crocodile bait may sound horrific, but the 19th century British hunters in colonial Sri Lanka and India found the idea so charming for big game hunting. A recent review of the 19th century records reveal that at least some British crocodile hunters during the colonial rule used live babies rented from the natives as bait to lure crocodiles. As per the review carried out by Anslem de Silva of Amphibian and Reptile Research Organisation of Sri Lanka and Ruchira Somaweera of Biologic Environmental Survey, Australia, the hunters used to advertise in newspapers like the Ceylon Catholic Messenger in Ceylon [old name of present Sri Lanka] to find native parents who will â€˜rentâ€™ the baby to the hunter to be used as crocodile bait. Articles in British Magazines like The Richmond Dispatch and the Record-Union in 1894 include quotes from British crocodile hunters about how they used to rent out babies for six cents a day for crocodiling in India. At least some of these hunters believed that there is nothing better than a live human baby to lure crocodiles out of water to a comfortable shooting distance. For instance, the ex-army officer claims to have shot more than 100 crocodiles from India using the same baby girl as the bait. "I used to have the Option on an Indian baby that was the most killing bait for crocodiles in all that part of India. I killed more than one hundred crocodiles with that youngster as a lure before she outgrew her usefulness. She had the most persistent and far-reaching yell I ever heard come out of mortal being, and no crocodile could resist it. She was a real siren in luring the big reptiles to their fate, and I was sorry to see her grow and get too big for bait and have to give her up", says the hunter in the Richmond Dispatch report. The reviewers located at least 19 newspaper reports or articles published in the UK, Australia and the US from 1888 to 1910 which mention this horrific hunting practice by the British in India and Sri Lanka. These records note that the hunter used to hide near to the â€˜baitâ€™ and will shoot the crocodile when it comes closer to the baby. According to the quotes of a crocodile hunter from India, sometimes, the crocodile get away with the bait also. It is interesting to examine at how the Western media looked at this practice in its reportage. Many mentioned that the mothers in Ceylon were so confident about the British hunters that they were willing to rent out babies four days a week for two shillings a day. While in India, according to the quote from the crocodile hunter, women used to flock him to get their babies rented out as bait. "The babies were brought back all right as a rule, but once in a while some sportsman was a trifle slow with his rifle, or made a bad shot, and the crocodile got away with the bait, but that didn't happen often ", says the Richmond Dispatch report. Moreover, the narrative of the colonial media also wonders that these live baits were almost indifferent to the approaching crocodile but were so scared of the sound of the gun shot. The original citation Were human babies used as bait in crocodile hunts in colonial Sri Lanka?