CROCODILE HUNTER STEVE IRWIN has been mauled by a "supercroc" in the Australian outback.

The naturalist, who is famed for his TV and film work featuring him battling with dangerous animals, suffered a broken ribs and a badly damaged hand - with his little finger nearly ripped off - when he attempted to place a tracking device on the four and a half metre (15 foot) crocodile.

He says, "He knocked the wind out of me. I had a rope around his jaws and it got caught around my hand and nearly ripped it off."

30/09/2003 13:59