London mayor Johnson meets royal croc George

SYDNEY (AFP) - London mayor Boris Johnson came face-to-face on Tuesday with George the crocodile, an Australian gift to Prince William and his wife Catherine, and joked that the royal couple should meet him before he becomes a handbag.

Mr Johnson has been holidaying in northern Australia and took time out to meet the tiny reptile which was hatched on December 3, the day the royal couple announced they were expecting a child.

The croc was named George after the young Prince of Cambridge and has his own Facebook page. Each year a card will be sent to the young royal updating him on his namesake's progress.

Northern Territory Chief Minister Adam Giles said he had heard that William and Kate were planning a visit Down Under next year and Johnson agreed it would be a good idea.

"I think the royal family should definitely do that, meet George before he gets turned into a handbag," he told reporters, before being coaxed into given the croc a quick kiss.

"Is this politically advisable? Does everybody have to kiss a croc, is this a standard thing?" Johnson asked, before pecking George on the snout.

The mayor said he had been blown away by the beauty of Australia's remote north and reportedly agreed to take on the role of of honorary ambassador in Britain for the Northern Territory.

"It's mind-bogglingly beautiful and under-used and (under) promoted," he said.