Crocodiles, Alligators Able to Climb Trees

Justin Boisvert

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Crocodiles, Alligators Able to Climb Trees



A new study looks at tree climbing behavior in American crocodiles and other species.

Add this to my list of reasons to stay away from Florida: A new study published in Herpetology Notes documents tree climbing behavior in four species of crocodilians, including the American crocodile. To be fair, most of the climbing appears to be done by smaller crocs (up to six feet long), but that's no reason not to engage in unjustified panic.

Tree climbing behavior was discussed in the American crocodile, the Australian freshwater crocodile, the Nile crocodile, and the Central African slender snouted crocodile. The article also mentions the American alligator, Siamese crocodile, and dwarf crocodile as species known to climb; and posits that any small, terrestrial crocodile is probably capable of climbing to some degree.

Crocodiles tend to mostly climb angled trees above the water (up to 12 feet up), though smaller crocs can climb straight up tree trunks or even brick walls. Small American crocodiles have been reported in branches as high as 30 feet above the ground. Take heart though, while the climbing process itself was never observed, it does not appear that the crocodiles were in the tree chasing prey. The crocs are believed to climb for two reasons: basking - the thermoregulatory behavior that cold-blooded crocodilians must engage in to warm up - and habitat surveillance. In other words, they sit on branches and roots over the water in areas where tree cover makes it hard for sunlight to reach them anywhere else; and they like the elevated position because it lets them see what is coming.

According to the article: "one key role of arboreal basking is, in fact, site surveillance and increased individual security through longer distance observation of potential threats from a vantage point where escape is as easy as falling off a log. A secondary benefit may be increased detectability of prey under such conditions." So basically, they're doing it because they're scared of other predators, but if they see a tasty snack, they still might jump down and hunt it.

(To forestall any confusion, the author would like to note that humor aside, crocodiles are awesome creatures that have been surviving here since the age of the dinosaurs, and should be thought of with respect, interest, and appropriate caution, but not fear.)

Source: Herpetology Notes [http://www.herpetologynotes.seh-herpetology.org/Volume7_PDFs/Dinets_HerpetologyNotes_volume7_pages3-7.pdf]

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MCerberus

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Jun 26, 2013
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None of us are safe
None of us are safe
None of us are safe
None of us are safe
None of us are safe
None of us are safe
 

Chimpzy_v1legacy

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Jun 21, 2009
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Next thing scientist will discover they also know how to open doors, naturally in the most unpleasant way possible. Mark my words.
 

Thaluikhain

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Australia used to have arboreal crocodiles which spent lots of time in trees, but they decided it wasn't worth the effort and climbed back down.

Chimpzy said:
Next thing scientist will discover they also know how to open doors, naturally in the most unpleasant way possible. Mark my words.
What, like by singing Katy Perry songs at them?
 

Chimpzy_v1legacy

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Jun 21, 2009
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thaluikhain said:
Chimpzy said:
Next thing scientist will discover they also know how to open doors, naturally in the most unpleasant way possible. Mark my words.
What, like by singing Katy Perry songs at them?
Not a bad suggestion, but now I'm thinking more along the lines of a group of young scientists renting a cabin over spring break. Two of them get all hot and bothered when they feel a draft. Turns out the door had inexplicably opened. Blaming it on the wind they continue making out when suddenly ... crocodile.

Cue a shot from outside the cabin featuring blood splashing all over the windows. Oh, and the door slamming shut.
 

One of Many

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MCerberus said:
None of us are safe
None of us are safe
None of us are safe
None of us are safe
None of us are safe
None of us are safe
Not true, those of us living in regions with a decent winter are safe, at least until these sneaking reptiles become warm blooded.
 

misg

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One of Many said:
MCerberus said:
None of us are safe
None of us are safe
None of us are safe
None of us are safe
None of us are safe
None of us are safe
Not true, those of us living in regions with a decent winter are safe, at least until these sneaking reptiles become warm blooded.
I was thinking the same thing, -30c may suck but I don't need fear the croc.
 

Galen Marek

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Dec 5, 2011
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I swear I've seen something on this a number of years ago of our Aussie crocs in trees....
How old is the study? Did they read other studies first? o_O

Knife-28 said:
So....drop-crocs?

Yea, they're drop-crocs.
Only the aussie ones.

Drop-Bears and Drop-Crocs.
 

infinity_turtles

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I sort of thought this was, if not common knowledge, at least understood by anyone who cared to know. But then, I grew up in a walled off apartment complex in Florida. The fact that they could climb is sort of obvious when that's the only way they could get to where they were getting.
 

Seracen

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Chimpzy said:
Next thing scientist will discover they also know how to open doors, naturally in the most unpleasant way possible. Mark my words.
Will they then learn how to use shotguns as well?

I can already hear Dr. Alan Grant saying: "They have shotguns now!"
 

blackrave

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Mar 7, 2012
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Valderis said:
Well... Fuck.

Next up they'll start twisting their ribs and discover they can glide in the air.

You're scary nature, stay the hell away from me.
There is solution for that
M9A1-7 flamethrower
Tested in Vietnam
Superior tool for keeping nature away

...until crocodiles figure out how to use flame-resistant suits and long range firearms.
Then we're truly fucked.
 

Vicarious Reality

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For some reason i dreamt about swimming in the river with crocodiles almost a whole week
Which is extra ridiculous since it was this river
https://www.google.com/maps/place/%C3%84lvv%C3%A4gen+12/@52.0850133,19.9382326,9367590m/data=!3m1!1e3!4m2!3m1!1s0x45d56e8e4ea4f1ff:0xec040adfbc478909?hl=en
Frickin terrifying
 

Foolery

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Jun 5, 2013
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One of Many said:
MCerberus said:
None of us are safe
None of us are safe
None of us are safe
None of us are safe
None of us are safe
None of us are safe
Not true, those of us living in regions with a decent winter are safe, at least until these sneaking reptiles become warm blooded.
I think that's what I like about Canada. No tropical animals, diseases, plants, poisons, etc. All you have to contend with is large animals, cold exposure, and starvation. I'd rather endure that, than malaria and having my feet eaten by snakes or something.