PHICHIT: Some people like to argue about which breed of dog makes the best four-legged home security system, but a coffee vendor in this province has found that his 70-kilogram pet crocodile is just as effective at keeping burglars at bay as any Rottweiler, Pit Bull or Doberman. Prayoon “Khiat” Thong jorn, 43, bought the crocodile for 3,000 baht as a hatchling from a crocodile farm in Phichit some six years ago. Rather than raise the reptile for use as a future handbag, he lavished on it the same love and affection usually reserved for more conventional pets. The baby croc, named “Ai Khaeng”, went with him everywhere. He even slipped the creature in his shirt pocket when he went out on his coffee-selling rounds. Although Ai Khaeng is now an impressive weight, Prayoon hasn’t let size come between him and his pet; the pair still sleep together under the same mosquito net, along with Prayoon’s son. Prayoon, who sleeps in the middle, even uses Ai Khaeng as a pillow, hugging the reptile during slumber. Ai Khang is fed two kilos of meat every two days, which is apparently enough to keep him healthy and satisfied. When a neighbor once told Prayoon that he had better be careful when Ai Khaeng is hungry, K. Prayoon decided to do a little experiment. “I let him go for a full 20 days without food to see what would happen, but he didn’t show any signs of annoyance or aggression. “He just followed me around all the time with his mouth wide open, hoping I would take the hint and feed him,” he said. Despite his apparent tameness, Ai Khaeng is an effective “watch-croc”. Prayoon’s neighbors do not dare venture into his house or bother K. Prayoon when his reptilian friend is with him – which is all the time. News of Ai Khaeng and Prayoon has generated a good deal of interest; the pair have already done roadshows and also performed at the One Tambon One Product Fair in Phichit on October 20.