Zookeeper Billy Collett was one of two men attacked by a five-metre croc named Elvis at a reptile park north of Sydney after they went into its enclosure about 8am today.
The men - who used their lawnmowers as a barrier when the hulking beast lunged - escaped unharmed, before later executing a daring rescue mission to retrieve the mower.
"It happened that fast, it was that scary. I'm just glad to be alive," Mr Collett told reporters in Gosford.
"We'd just started mowing, the croc's sitting about five foot away from me in the water, then next second he's attached to the end of the mower, dragging it in, and almost taking me into the drink with him.
"My heart almost jumped out of my chest."
Tim Faulkner, who was also inside the enclosure at the time of the attack, said his co-worker was lucky to be alive.
"I had to scream at Billy to let the mower go, because he was thinking about the mower preservation more than his own self-preservation," Mr Faulkner told reporters.
"The croc obviously had a hold of it and both of them would have gone in the water.
"When a croc's got something like that you let him have it ... it's 500 kilos of muscle."
Elvis - who lost two teeth in the encounter with the mower - was acquired by the park in 2008 after causing grief in Darwin harbour by climbing onto fishing boats.
Some of the croc's teeth measure up to 9cm in length.