Next time you're looking up at a tree, you may see more than birds and squirrels lounging about. Try crocodiles.
"Show me a crocodile that's climbing up a tree. He can't even wrap the tree. I know he has long claws, but how does he?" (Via Disney-ABC Domestic Television / "Live with Kelly & Michael")
Yeah, that's exactly what I was thinking. But after researchers at the University of Tennessee noticed crocs resting on trees, some as high as 32 feet, they decided to take a closer look and found four species can climb trees. (Via Animal Planet)
They also discovered smaller crocodiles can climb higher than the larger ones. But for an animal we commonly associate with waddling and water, how is it physically possible for them to climb trees?
Red Orbit quotes the study's authors, who say: "Climbing a steep hill or steep branch is mechanically similar, assuming the branch is wide enough to walk on. Still, the ability to climb vertically is a measure of crocodiles' spectacular agility on land."
The study also gives a few reasons why they climb, saying it allows them to help regulate their body temperature and examine their habitats. (Via National Geographic)
So if you're ever trying to escape a crocodile attack, think twice before climbing a tree, although the method did work for two Australian fishermen escaping an attack. (Via ABC Australia)
The study was posted in the journal Herpetology Notes.