An adult Philippine crocodile is seen on a tree limb in this undated photo. REUTERS/M. van Welsem/Mabuwaya Foundation/Handout via Reuters
Most people entering crocodile territory keep a wary eye out on water and land, but research suggests they need to look up.
Though the reptiles lack obvious physical features to suggest this is possible, crocodiles in fact climb trees all the way to the crowns, according to University of Tennessee researcher Vladimir Dinets.
Researchers in the climbing study observed crocodiles in Australia, Africa and North America.
The study documented crocodiles climbing as high as 1.8m off the ground. But Dinets said he received anecdotal reports from people who spend time around crocodiles of the reptiles climbing almost 9m.
Dinets said crocodiles lack the toe and foot structure that would be expected of a climber. However, smaller and juvenile crocodiles in particular were observed climbing vertically while larger ones tended to climb angled trunks and branches, all of which is a measure of the reptiles’ spectacular agility, he said.
“They just go slowly,” he said. “Eventually they get there.”