Rus Articles Journal

What animals use tools for hunting? Crocodiles of

Most of people considers crocodiles by spiteful, but near predators. However, as scientists established, creative approach to the solution of “food problem“ is not alien to them.

It appears, alligators and crocodiles are able to use during hunting the elementary tools, in particular, of a collection of small branches and sticks by means of which they allure the victim. Moreover, these clever robbers, perhaps, have an idea of seasons as they use the methods when birds build nests and collect for this purpose branches.

Zoologists from University of Tennessee watched behavior of crocodiles and alligators who placed suitable sticks and branches on the muzzles to attract the birds who are looking for “construction material“ for nests. Scientists observed similar behavior of reptiles on rookeries in Louisiana in the spring during a season of nesting of herons when birds build nests. The identical behavior on a systematic basis was noted on different sites that gave a reason for generalizations.

This research for the first time showed ability of reptiles to use tools. Besides, it is the first case when use is noticed by predators of the temporary baits focused on seasonal behavior of the victim.

Scientists consider that some bird species specially choose for gnezdoviya the trees growing in reservoirs in which crocodiles and alligators are found. Birds use predatory reptiles as protection. They are necessary for protection against penetration into nests of other predators, such as snakes, monkeys and raccoons.

However it is necessary to pay for “roof“. The baby birds who are dropping out of nests, and also adult birds who are looking for construction material for the nests and attracted with the branches balancing on crocodile noses become the victims of “protection“.

In the research published in the “Ethology, Ecology and Evolution“ magazine (Ethology Ecology and Evolution), scientists under the leadership of the author of a number of books on zoology Vladimir Dinets pay attention that the similar behavior is noticed at two species of crocodiles. It allows to assume that creative abilities of reptiles are widespread.

In 2007, watching the crocodiles on rookeries near Chennai in India who became the house for white herons, researchers repeatedly noticed huge reptiles with the sticks balancing on their muzzles. Once the heron tried to lift a branch and the crocodile rushed on it. Further similar activity came into the view of scientists in Florida.

Two of authors of research who for 13 years work in zoological park - a crocodile farm of Sankt - Augustin (St Augustine Alligator Farm Zoological Park) in Florida where 600 marsh birds nest, claim that they regularly observe the alligators floating in a pond with sticks on muzzles. According to scientists, the similar behavior is observed only during bird`s reproduction and “a construction season“ from March to April in spite of the fact that birds are present at rookeries till July.

“Use of objects as hunting baits very seldom meets in the nature, - it is said in research. - At least, one of types uses this method only during a nested season of potential production. It is the first known case when predators not only use objects as a bait, but also consider seasonality of behavior of production“.