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Re: The Final Days

From: "Williams, Tim" <TiJaWi@agron.iastate.edu>

> I spoke to Chris Brochu about this a week or two ago.  The slender-snout =
> fish-eater notion for crocs (and other creatures for that matter) is by no
> means clear-cut.

Well, it's clear that extant slender-snouted crocs aren't automatically the
"fish specialists" they're often described as. Obviously such a snout
decreases drag in water and sure enough, longirostrine species tend to
include a greater percentage of fish in their diet. However, all
slender-snouted species are generalists at heart: false gharials
(_Tomistoma_) eat a wide variety of prey, and larger crocs can take moderate
sized mammals (monkeys, even small deer - these crocs get to 18 feet long,
and their jaws become pretty robust). There are even reports of them
attacking humans (emphasis on "reports"!).

Even Indian gharials, despite including a high percentage of fish in their
diet, have been documented eating birds, reptiles and even the occasional
small mammal. Juveniles - as you can imagine - mainly eat a variety of small
prey including insects, small amphibians, and of course tiny fish. Gharials
tend to shift to other prey when fish are scarce, or just when they're
suitably hungry and a nice, juicy mammal wanders along.

Adam Britton