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Le crocodile, on l'imagine paresseux et pas très futé. Un peu brut. Pourtant, des chercheurs affirment qu’il est capable d’utiliser des outils. Pour attraper de pauvres oiseaux sans défense. Le crocodile ne serait finalement… pas si bête ! © photocech, Adobe Stock

These crocodiles disguise themselves as a nest to hunt birds

The House of Science is like a collection of stories. Beautiful stories that tell neighborhoods in all their freshness. But also in all its complexities. Arch to marvel at the treasures of the world. In this new episode, let’s move on to the discovery of a dangerous predator: the crocodile.

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[EN VIDÉO] Alligator, crocodile and caiman: what’s the difference?
We often confuse alligators, crocodiles, and caimans. All of them belong to the order Crocodilians, but to different families. How do we differentiate between them?

on the earth. In the water. The crocodile is comfortable everywhere. As long as this ” Everywhere “ It is located in a tropical to subtropical region. And did you know it’s related to… the bird? A common ancestor on the side of archosaurs that inhabited the Earth about 240 million years ago. Amazing for this beast, which today can reach seven meters in length and weigh up to a ton.

The crocodileIt’s also legendary teeth. Little strange. without roots. Thus it can be replaced up to fifty times during the life of the animal. Although production slows down with age. And that you can meet ancient crocodiles without teeth!

But nothing to laugh about for long. Since the dawn of history, the crocodile has been scary. Its jaw is considered one of the strongest in the animal kingdom. And it can happen that it attacks men. The Nile crocodile It is a particularly dangerous predator. It will kill more than fifty human victims every year. To defend its territory or protect its young. But also for food. Usually he hides, leaving only him eyes so is gills stand out from the water. Then he throws himself at the daredevils who come close up.

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The most classic fishing technique, after all. Why do we care about the crocodile today? for this animal that brain It has a size, say, small, so as not to bother it too much? Because researchers Note that some crocodiles – Crocodylus balestris And the Mississippi alligator, if you’re curious to know which ones – I’ve come up with a slightly smarter way. Based on the use of “traps”. It is not meant to hunt people, but the poor small birds Innocent people are looking for twigs to build their nests.

Tools within reach of crocodiles?

We are far from these crocodiles that open their mouths to birds to allow them to peck the remains of their meal stuck between their teeth. It must be said that the trick allows them to avoid infections due to meat that may cause its growth. And for the bird to fly away as soon as it senses danger. As a warning signal for the crocodile, which then returns to the depths.

But let’s go back to these smart kids. At this particular time of year, which is breeding – and at this time only – the smartest crocodiles used to slip under the branches, so as to place them near their jaws. They just have to wait. Waiting for a bird focused on finding a little Building materials Please grab it. And jump unfortunate bite. Well, let’s say instead, swallow it straight. Because crocodiles are like snakes. Do not chew.

What the researchers describe here is nothing more and nothing less than the first observed case of the use of tools in it reptiles. Enough to make us want to let the crocodile classify as a rather rude and very boring animal. In his children’s book, giant crocodileAuthor Roald Dahl warned us: “I drew secret plans and invented clever tricks…” The animal is actually very attentive. And capable of advanced cognitive strategies. Shall we conclude that the non-avian dinosaur, which is its closest living relative, also knew how to use tools? There is nothing less certain. Especially since thenOther researchers Judge these crocodile notes based on “traps” Anecdotal and trivial. Behavior that can be very good is not intentional. Despite everything, they still agreed on one point: the crocodile is not that stupid!