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Re: My Gr. 9 Science Fair Project: Questions
Edward Traxler wrote:
> [...] The crocs did not bother the
> little hippo, even when it was shoved by an adult directly into the midst
> of the crocs.
Perhaps the crocs didn't see the little hippo as food because they'd
never sampled one.
I understand that when a panther or a shark preys upon a human, the
authorities try to find and kill that animal because that animal is
likely to eat other humans. This implies that dangerous predators
normally let humans pass because they don't consider humans food.
Similarly, if duckbills were smart enough to avoid becoming part of the
diet of most crocs, perhaps most crocs didn't go after them.
Past scares with hippos might also encourage crocs to behave.
At one time, I kept finding empty eggshells, with holes in one end, in
the chicken coop. Late one night, our substandard dog gave a woof,
which alerted me to a stir in the coop.
I opened the door. Two feet from my face was a snake that may have been
eight feet long. In front of it was an empty eggshell with holes in the
end. A foot down its throat was a lump the size of another egg. The
hens were nonchalant, as if this happened every night.
I stood there shining my light on it. It didn't look distinctly
different from a king. I didn't want to kill a king snake.
Like the jury in the recent trial of a football legend, I decided the
evidence was circumstantial and walked away. After all, he had been
courteous, acted innocent, and had a charming smile.
Everyone told me I should have killed it because a snake that had
learned where to get eggs would keep coming back. Strangely, this one
never returned. Our farm seemed pretty safe for snakes, and I didn't
see or smell any dead ones.
This led me to speculate that perhaps reptiles learn from mistakes and
avoid repeating scary confrontations.
Perhaps a croc that once had a scary confrontation with a mother hippo
would want to avoid starting trouble for the rest of its life. Perhaps
there were once crocs who felt that way about duckbills.
- Stephen Throop