Crocodile scarring

Crocodile Scarring

If you thought the Yakuza tattoos looked painful (and who could blame you?), you may want to give crocodile scarring a miss. Crocodile scarification is a traditional coming of age ritual still practiced by some tribes around the world. It involves making hundreds of small incisions in the skin of the man-to-be with a razor or bamboo splinter, forming an elaborate pattern that resembles the skin of a crocodile when the cuts turn into raised scars. Makes an awkward shaving lesson from your dad seem like quite a reasonable option…

Crocodile Scarification

These beautiful photos by David Kirkland show men of the Sepik River Tribe, Papua New Guinea. The crocodile is revered by the tribe, who believe that humans were born of roaming packs of crocodiles. On some interpretations, the scars represent the teeth marks of the crocodile on the body of a boy, who is chewed up by the crocodile before emerging as a man.

Crocodile Scarring, Papua New Guinea

As the following video shows, the crocodile scarring ritual is a pretty horrific practice that pushes even the hardiest of men to their absolute limit of endurance — let alone 11-year-old boys. Good one to have up your sleeve next time you hear a kid having a tantrum in a toy shop.

WARNING! Do not watch this video if you are even mildly squeamish!

Photos by David Kirkland; video by National Geographic

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