A mother’s ability to think on her feet helped save her child’s life. The mother in Zimbabwe tricked an alligator into releasing its grip on her three-year-old son by sticking her fingers up its nose.

Maurina Musisinyana, 30, said the incident happened when she was fishing in the Runde River near Gonarezhou National Park, according to local reports.

Musisinyana, of Chihosi village, Chiredzi, upon seeing the crocodile dragging her son to the water's edge, jumped on the beast and shoved her fingers up on its nose, thereby choking it. Meanwhile, she used her other hand to free her son’s head from the crocodile’s mouth. She was successful in her endeavor but the alligator bit her on the hand.

“I pressed its nose hard, a tip I learnt from the elders long back,” she said. “If you ­suffocate a crocodile from its nose, it loses its strength and that is exactly what I did. I used my other arm to free my baby’s head from its jaws. Even to this day, I still do not believe I rescued my son.”

Gideon, who suffered injuries to his face making him hard to breathe, was rushed to a nearby hospital. He later made a full recovery. The exact date of the incident was not known.

Crocodiles usually breathe through their mouth but when struggling to tackle a prey in the water, they switch the process to the nostrils as the mouth valve stays shut.

The Runde River is a hotbed of Nile crocodiles, which can grow up to 20 feet long and weigh up to 1,650 pounds. The reptiles mainly live on fish but are often known to “attack almost anything unfortunate enough to cross its path,” according to National Geographic.

At least 200 people each year are estimated to die of crocodile attacks off the banks of Runde River.

In July, a 2-year-old girl was devoured by crocodiles after she accidentally fell into a pit of reptiles at her family farm in Cambodia. The toddler wandered away from the house when her mother lost sight of her while caring for her newborn. The father found her skull stripped of flesh shortly after inside the crocodile enclosure.

Siamese Crocodile
Siamese crocodiles were thought to be extinct until they were rediscovered. Image: a Siamese crocodile at a facility in Thailand. Wikimedia Commons