- Robert Smits was swimming in the mangroves of Jardines de la Reina, Cuba, when he spotted the reptile
- Undeterred, the 34-year-old, from Kapellen in Belgium, took the opportunity to get some incredible images
- Some show close-ups of the creatures famously-sharp teeth, while others depict it leaping out of the water
Most people would flee if they came in close proximity to a deadly animal.
But one brave snorkeller ignored his survival instinct - and, as a result, captured crystal clear images of a crocodile almost smiling for the camera.
Robert Smits, 34, was swimming in the mangroves of Jardines de la Reina, Cuba, when he spotted the fierce-looking reptile and decided it was the perfect photo opportunity.
Up close and personal: Robert Smits, 34, pictured swimming in the mangroves of Jardines de la Reina, Cuba, with the animal
Determined to record the incident, the bold traveller, from Kapellen in Belgium, fearlessly engaged with his swimming pal, who appeared to play along and flash a toothy 'grin'.
Impressively, some of the stunning images show close-ups of the crocodile's famously-sharp teeth, while others depict it aggressively leaping out of the water.
'It is an enormous creature, which is very muscular and sort of a prehistoric powerful animal.'
He added: 'That said, I wasn't too scared. I relished every second of the encounter, as it is highly unlikely you get to have such an experience anytime soon, or anywhere else for that matter.'
The power of nature: The crocodile suddenly emerges from the waves as it devours raw meat thrown by the photographer
'The crocodile knew we were in the water and was interested in our presence, but was pretty chilled out and not in an aggressive state,' Mr Smits says
Jaw-dropping: The crocodile opens its jaws to reveal inside, which includes a palatal flap: rigid tissue at the back of the mouth that blocks the entrance of water
'I think it is okay to take calculated risks so you can get shots that you want, without harming the animal' Mr Smits says
Further detailing the spine-tingling moment, he said: 'The crocodile knew we were in the water and was interested in our presence, but was pretty chilled out and not in an aggressive state.
'There is always risk involved when taking photographs of animals, even of your neighbourhood dog, as you never know how the animal will react to your presence.
'But, on a personal level, I think it is okay to take calculated risks so you can get shots that you want, without harming, relocating or doing anything to the animal.'
Proximity: The animal's fear-inducing jaw can be seen in detail as it navigates through the crystal clear waters
Too close for comfort? Mr Smits hovers above the creature with his camera, while tiny fish surround the deadly predator
Wow-factor: This incredible snapshot offers an intimate glimpse at the reptile, which is typically seen in the topics of Africa, Asia, the Americas and Australia
He's not shy! The bold traveller, from Kapellen in Belgium, fearlessly engaged with his unique swimming pal and, bizarrely, the no-nonsense creature even appeared to play along by flashing a toothy grin
Incredibly, Mr Smits says that his main concern was respecting the ruthless predator.
'I don't want to disturb the animals, but just photograph nature as it is,' he said. 'Obviously, if this would harm the crocodile in any way, I would stop taking photographs and leave it be.
'In certain photographs, I am sure it is grinning! Maybe it is a show of dominance, with all the muscles and teeth showing or the crocodile might just be wondering why us humans get in the water with them.'
He's watching! Floating inconspicuously throughout the Cuban bay, the animal keeps a watchful eye above the surface
Terrifying: This sinister snap provides a dramatic close-up of the creature's jawline and eye, which fixates on the lens
Lucky escape: Fortunately, the animal remained in a calm state and appeared to be almost playful in front of the camera