Crocodiles aren't just lazy creatures that lay around in the sun all day long, a fact that is proven by the fact that some of them can climb into a tree up to four meters. This is true despite the lack of morphological features that would normally be present in a species that can climb.
"Climbing a steep hill or steep branch is mechanically similar, assuming the branch is wide enough to walk on," the authors wrote. "Still, the ability to climb vertically is a measure of crocodiles' spectacular agility on land."
Vladimir Dinets headed the team that did the study on crocodiles in North America, Africa and Australia. It turns out four different species of crocs can climb trees, and smaller ones are better at it than the larger ones.
"The most frequent observations of tree-basking were in areas where there were few places to bask on the ground, implying that the individuals needed alternatives for regulating their body temperature," the authors wrote. "Likewise, their wary nature suggests that climbing leads to improved site surveillance of potential threats and prey."
Scientists have determined that the behavior is not determined by the time of day, as they found crocodiles in trees during the day and night. Still skittish creatures, the crocodiles fell off the logs or jumped into the water when approached.
Nature World News
described some of the previous research:
Previous research on crocodilians
- including crocodiles, caimans and alligators- found that they use tools such as twigs and branches to set a trap for birds. These reptiles hold a twig to attract a nesting bird. As soon as the bird gets too close, the reptile attacks it. What's even more interesting is that this behaviour isn't isolated to one species; alligators in the U.S. and marsh crocodiles in India use this twig trick to lure birds. They exclusively use the tool during a specific time of the year.