Crocodile Lawn: Why do reptiles tolerate each other and not try to tear each other to shreds? (6 photos)

Category: Animals, PEGI 0+
21 June 2024

Crocodiles are brutal and ruthless predators. They lived before the dinosaurs and will live after we disappear. These bloodthirsty beasts have been terrorizing water bodies for hundreds of millions of years. So explain to me why the hell these lizards hang out on the beach and don’t show aggression towards each other? Is this really a reptilian conspiracy? Or is their predatory nature not so evil after all?

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It turns out that crocodiles, alligators, caimans, gharials and other toothy creatures are not emotionless scaly logs. These are some of the most social reptiles! They not only tolerate their fellow creatures nearby, but are able to communicate and even play with each other!

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To avoid bickering, the reptiles formed a hierarchy. It is especially severe in large species of crocodiles: Nile and combed ones. The rules do not shine with witty sophistication and work simply: whoever is stronger and bigger belongs to the warmest pebbles, the cleanest sand and the best hunting grounds. As long as no one rushes into the cream of the reptilian society, peace and tranquility reign. But as soon as there is someone with ambition, a fight is inevitable. For one of the duelists, it may be the last.

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But not everyone’s living conditions are so spartan. For example, among alligators, relationships between relatives are not so strained. Because the company gathers young people who have never seen life or smelled gunpowder. To whom to prove what? Seasoned males live alone, avoiding large companies.

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And some people not only tolerate their relatives, but actively interact with them. For example, black caimans know how to play catch-up. Not for the sake of tearing off a good piece of the carcass to a fellow man (although this happens), but for the sake of fun. Cuban crocodiles are not far behind and sometimes give each other rides on their backs. And fish-eating crocodiles have even adopted school hunting, thanks to which they collectively drive schools into shallow waters.

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The only time when a shaky agreement collapses for everyone without exception is the time of reproduction. Hormones require you to desperately defend the territory or the female you like. But even then, reptiles use a variety of ways to communicate with each other: splashing their heads on the water and making various sounds. The louder they are, the larger the reptile that makes it. For males, this is a signal to retreat, and for females, it is a call for a date with a pleasant continuation of the evening.

It is thanks to the tolerance of crocodiles towards each other that they can be kept in such quantities in captivity.

And the alligators even dance! From the outside, of course, the jostling of short-legged reptiles looks little like graceful steps, but for alligators, joint “dancing” is one of the ways to choose a partner.

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