Explanation: Why did the crocodiles save the stray dog ​​instead of attacking it?

Explanation: Why did the crocodiles save the stray dog ​​instead of attacking it?

Representative image

(LR Shankar/TOI, BCCl, Chennai)

Have you ever been in a dilemma where you felt like you had to choose between the devil and the deep sea?

Not long ago, a young dog in Maharashtra found himself running for his life, a pack of feral dogs hot on his heels, before deciding to take refuge in the river ahead. He jumped into the cold waters of Savitri, most likely unaware of the dangers that lurked there even as the pursuers stood at a distance and watched.

When the young canine jumped into the body of water, it attracted the attention of three adult marauders – swamp crocodiles – floating in the vicinity. But instead of attacking the unfortunate dog, two of the three reptiles swam close to the animal, and began pushing it towards a safe place, away from where the feral dogs were waiting.

This may be hard to believe because when you think of crocodiles, the words “friendly” and “helpful” are not the first things that come to mind. Scientists also can’t understand why the crocodiles wouldn’t eat the pup even though it was “within strike range.”

Crocodiles guide stray dogs to safety (Utkarsha Chavan/CBS)

Crocodiles guide stray dogs to safety

(Utkarsha Chavan, Manoj Borkar/Journal of Threatened Species)

Although adult thieves can grow up to 18 feet long and weigh about 450 kilograms, their massive size doesn’t mean they’re particularly aggressive. In a study of conscious behavior in thieves, researchers described the reptile’s behavior toward a dog as “obedient.” The only possible explanation they can come up with is that the crocodiles showed emotional intelligence in this case.

Also known as “affective empathy,” this quality allows one species to experience the emotional feelings of another person. While this trait has not been fully investigated in these reptiles, scientists believe this incident has more to do with empathy than altruism.

But the health of stealing crocodiles does not end here; Researchers have found another behavior in them that will swell your heart in the best possible way: their love of plush.

According to the study, crocodiles have been seen perched or lying on these flowers, somehow maintaining physical contact with them. As adorable as this behavior is, this behavior can be summed up by the fact that flower petals contain compounds that protect their skin from fungi and bacteria.

Given that the Savitri River is highly polluted, the crocodiles are likely to use the petals to “clean” themselves.

The results of this study were detailed in Journal of Threatened Species It can be accessed here.


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