Crocodiles are capable of climbing trees
Researchers have found that crocodiles, who in most people's opinion just waddle on the ground or wade in water, can climb trees as far as the crowns.
Vladimir Dinets, a research assistant professor in the Department of Psychology, University of Tennessee, Knoxville, and his colleagues observed crocodile species on three continents-Australia, Africa and North America-and examined previous studies and anecdotal observations.
They found that four species climbed trees-usually above water-but how far they ventured upward and outward varied by their sizes. The smaller crocodiles were able to climb higher and further than the larger ones.
Some species were observed climbing as far as four meters high in a tree and five meters down a branch.
The crocodiles seen climbing trees, whether at night or during the day, were skittish of being recognized, jumping or falling into the water when an approaching observer was as far as 10 meters away.
This response led the researchers to believe that the tree climbing and basking are driven by two conditions: thermoregulation and surveillance of habitat.
The data suggests that at least some crocodile species are able to climb trees despite lacking any obvious morphological adaptations to do so.
The research has been published in the journal Herpetology Notes.
(Posted on 12-02-2014)