Mugger crocodile (Crocodylus palustris) equipped with twigs.
American alligators, and their cousin Indian marsh crocodiles, apparently have figured out that if they balance twigs on their snouts, wading birds will try to snatch them for nests. For the quick-snapping gator, that’s free lunch. …
A recently released study – published in Ethology, Ecology and Evolution – is the first to document “lure-baiting” by the species, and one of the few lure-baiting behaviors documented among animals overall.
Nah, you say – just dumb luck? Well, the study documented that alligators in Louisiana use the twig trick only during a relatively brief bird nesting season.
They have thought this thing through.
“For people working with alligators it comes as little surprise because we already know how smart they can be. But for the general public it is apparently a bit unexpected,” said Vladimir Dinets, a University of Tennessee psychology researcher, who is the study’s lead author.
“They are capable of very unique things when it comes to feeding,” said wildlife biologist Phil Wilkinson of Georgetown, who has spent more than 30 years studying the American alligator.
Also in the Daily Mail.