Reptiles deserve to be protected as much as any animal, says Brady Barr, who is on a mission to educate people about his favourite subject. 'Just because they are not warm and cuddly, people view them as monsters who should be destroyed,' he says. 'The truth is they are fascinating, complex animals who make a vital contribution to the eco-system. I teach a lot of children through my work with National Geographic and I try to educate them about reptiles. 'Touching a snake can be a life-changing experience for some people. Some are afraid, but they overcome it. It shows them that they are not going to bite.' Crocodiles have the worst reputation, he says. 'Crocs are not blood-thirsty! I even swim with them sometimes! You have to respect them because they can be dangerous. They are intelligent and employ a sit-and-wait strategy,' Dr Barr says. 'But they are very vocal. They hiss, growl, chirp, and use a lot of body language. They even communicate subsonically [through wave vibrations]. 'Their main activity is thermal regulation [adjusting their body temperature]. They move a tiny fraction to adjust it, or simply open their mouths, or go underwater.' Dr Barr says a croc will only attack after it has judged the prey's height. 'Research has shown the taller you are, the less likely you will be attacked. So if you ever meet a crocodile in the wild, you must stand up straight!'