Strewth! Obama gets free croc insurance for Darwin stop

Troops watch U.S. President Barack Obama talk to U.S. Marines and Australian troops at the RAAF Base in Darwin, November 17, 2011. REUTERS/Larry Downing

DARWIN, Australia (Reuters) - U.S. President Barack Obama made a fleeting visit on Thursday to Australia’s tropical north, home to some of the world’s biggest and deadliest crocodiles, and received a unique gift to mark his stopover.

As an official gift, Obama was given crocodile insurance, which would have paid out A$50,000 to his wife, Michelle, if the president had been attacked by a crocodile.

“I was just presented with the most unique gift I have ever received as president -- crocodile insurance. My wife, Michelle, will be relieved,” Obama told about 2,000 troops in Darwin.

“I have to admit when we reformed health care in America, crocodile insurance is one thing we left out.”

Darwin is the capital of the remote and sparsely populated Northern Territory, made famous in the legendary Crocodile Dundee movies.

The Territory’s Chief Minister Paul Henderson took out the crocodile insurance policy for Obama, worth about A$10, and presented him with the certificate as a memento of his visit.

Saltwater crocodiles, which can grow bigger than five metres (16 ft), kill about one to two people a year in Australia.

Reporting by James Grubel in Sydney; Editing by Lincoln Feast and Sugita Katyal