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(fwd) Re: Cuban crocodile hunting techniques



From: none@vailable (Adam)
Newsgroups: sci.bio.herp
Subject: Re: Cuban crocodile hunting techniques
Date: Sat, 08 May 1999 04:30:29 GMT
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On 3 May 1999 20:50:20 GMT, sebak@aol.com (Sebak) wrote:

>Imagine my surprise when the keeper informed
>me that they were pack hunters!  i don't knbow how true this is, so i'm trying
>to see if anyone else has heard of the same thing.  the keeper, who was very
>knowledgeable about these animals, told of a time when they attempted to attack
>one of the keepers as he was cleaning out the pool (which had been drained). 
>they apparently surrounded the empty pool, spacing themselves more or less
>equally, and simultaneously heaved forward and slid down the empty pool floor
>toward the keeper.

Coopertive behaviour amongst certain crocodilian species has been
described before, particularly in the Nile crocodile. However, what
the keeper described to you here doesn't sound very unique. It's
certainly not very good evidence of pack hunting, and could be due to
a number of reasons. One of the most likely has to do with the
dominance heirarchy within the enclosure, which is apparent in most
crocodilians. Although juvenile crocs tend to huddle up together when
you enter their enclosure, adults have usually established which
animals are dominant, and which are subordinate. If you walk into the
pen to clean them, pushing them away into a corner, you set up a very
unnatural situation for a short period of time where the croc's
individual territories are disrupted and social boundaries break
down... but it doesn't last for long! Soon the subordinate animals
want to move away - and usually this means towards the keeper trying
to clean the pen. Attacking or stalking the guy may have nothing to do
with it.

I wouldn't like to say this is what actually happened, I just present
it as feasible behaviour which could easily be misinterpreted by an
observer. Regardless, the observation of several crocs moving
simultaneously towards a threat isn't really evidence of pack hunting.

Adam Britton
crocodilian.com