Tags: crocodile | climb | tree | plan

Crocodiles Climb Trees, So It's Time to Find New Escape Plan

Friday, 14 Feb 2014 11:51 AM

By Clyde Hughes

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You may want to think twice if your idea of getting away from a crocodile is to climb a tree, thanks to a popular video making the rounds and according to research from the University of Tennessee at Knoxville's department of psychology showing that crocodiles are smarter than once thought.

In the report "Climbing behavior in extant crocodilian," published in the January 2014 online edition of Herpetology Notes, researchers said the idea of tree-climbing crocodiles have not been a secret to those living near them.

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"Despite this limited documentation, the ability of crocodilians (mostly juveniles) to climb trees is well known to local residents in some locations," stated the study, produced by Vladimir Dinets, Adam Britton and Matthew Shirley. "They reported routinely observing basking in mangrove trees by juvenile American crocodiles."

Researchers said crocodile tree climbers have been found around the world in places like Australia, Mexico, Colombia, Indonesia, Botswana, New Guinea, The Philippines and The Congo.

Crocodiles, according to CBS News, were observed basking on low-hanging tree branches day and night in Australia. When boats approached them, the crocodiles jumped into the water to escape. The crocodiles were usually small, or juveniles, CBS News reported.

"This shyness might explain why tree-climbing behavior in crocodilians remains relatively little known despite being relatively common," the researchers wrote.

Researchers added, though, the bigger the crocodile gets, the more difficult it becomes for it to climb tree.

The Los Angeles Times wrote about a reported case of a tree climbing crocodile in Mississippi where research found it perched on the branch of a tree.

"One adult dwarf crocodile escaped from its enclosure at the Bristol Zoo ... by climbing up a tree growing at an angle and then over the barrier," researchers told the Los Angeles Times.

Previously, the Los Angeles Times wrote about another study that showed how crocodiles camouflage themselves with branches and hover just above the water to trap birds. Mugger crocodiles and American alligators were found to use this tactic, according to a study in the journal Ethology Ecology and Evolution.

"The crocodiles remained perfectly still for hours, and if they did move to change position, they did it in such a way that the sticks remained balanced on their snouts," according to the paper, per the Times.

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Related stories:

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Crocodile Attack During Birthday Party Leaves Australian Dead

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