If You Think Climbing a Tree Will Save You From a Crocodile…

Crocodiles can climb trees

02_12_2014_crocodile tree.jpg
Kristine Gingras / Dinets et al.

Keep this in mind if you're ever running from a hungry crocodile: they are full of surprises. First, researchers found that crocodiles—long the poster child of Tyrannosaurus-level carnivory—actually enjoy nibbling on fruit. And now we've learned that they can climb trees. 

According to a new study, crocodiles are quite adept climbers. That's pretty surprising given that crocodiles lack “any obvious morphological adaptations for arboreality," as the study's authors put it.

The researchers gathered reports of crocodiles, across species and continents, hanging out in trees. “In Australia, they saw crocodiles in trees — and spotted one individual attempting to scale a chain-link fence. In the Everglades and Central America, many crocodiles were spotted basking on the concealed lower branches of mangrove trees. At some of these sites, the only way the reptiles could have reached their resting spot was by climbing up the tree trunk itself,” says Nadia Drake for Wired.

But what are the crocodiles doing up there? The researchers suggest they're probably trying to control their temperature by basking in in the sunlight, or they're surveying the area (for hapless prey?)

Actually, though, the researchers say that crocodiles in trees are skittish, dropping off their perches and scuttering away more quickly than those basking on rocks or hanging out in the water.

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