Alligators and Crocodiles Can Climb Trees: Fact Check


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Image Showing Alligators and Crocodiles Can Climb Trees
Alligators and Crocodiles Can Climb Trees

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Crocodiles Can Climb Trees

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Alligators and Crocodiles Can Climb Trees

Fact Check:

Certain messages in circulation online warn people with a surprising claim saying Alligators and Crocodiles can Climb Trees. Heavily built Alligators and Crocodiles today are not physically adapted as climbers, but some of them can in fact climb trees. The surprisingly common tree-climbing behavior in the reptiles is revealed in a study published in January 2014.

Crocodiles Can Climb Trees

A study published in Journal Herpetology Notes described the tree-climbing behavior in Crocodiles and their close cousins, Alligators. The team of researchers in fact observed four different species hanging out in trees – in three continents North America, Africa and Australia. The revelation came as a surprise to many because of the fact that crocodiles lack any special anatomic adaptations for gripping branches and climbing trees.

Image of Alligator climbing over a fence
Alligator climbing over a fence

The researchers found some Crocodiles can climb trees higher than usually thought, sometimes even into the tree crowns. They observed American Crocodiles about 1 meter long lying on aerial roots and low branches of mangrove trees during day time. Juvenile crocodilians, obviously, are more adept in climbing trees even on relatively thin and vertical branches. Slender-snouted crocodiles of Central Africa are most discussed for their tree-climbing behavior. Below is an interesting video showing an Alligator surprisingly scale up and cross a chain-link fence successfully.

Why Crocodiles Climb Trees?

Crocodiles and Alligators climbing trees is not something you see often. Why then some of them do it? The researchers suggest the huge reptiles are probably trying to control their body temperature by basking in the sunlight (thermoregulation). They may also examine the area (surveillance of the environment). Notably, researchers say the Crocodiles hanging out on trees are unpredictable and unstable. They saw the reptiles quickly falling or jumping into the water if they approached them. Interestingly, the researchers also believe some extinct crocodilians were even more adapted to climb trees than the species alive today.

Image Showing Alligators and Crocodiles Can Climb Trees
An American Alligator perches on a tree branch in Pearl river delta, Mississippi. PC: Kristine Gingras

Hoax or Fact:

Fact with some missing information.

References:

Beware in the Bayou: Alligators and Crocodiles Can Climb


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