NEW YORK, NY – Despite being a poor swimmer, one animal is still able to cross oceans!
The world’s largest living reptile, the saltwater crocodile, managed to reach many South Pacific islands separated by huge stretches of water despite being a poor swimmer. The reptiles baffled researchers who couldn’t seem to understand how they accomplished such a feat. The crocodiles are a mystery no more and it seems as though they enjoy going out for a good surf every now and then.
Researchers have revealed that like a surfer catching a wave, the massive reptiles can ride currents on the ocean surface to cross large areas of open sea. The saltwater crocodile is a massive animal that can grow at least 23 feet long and weigh more that 2,200 pounds. The scaly monsters have been known to devour sharks and have a bite that packs nearly two tons of pressure – powerful enough to crush bone.
Australian researchers used sonar sensors and satellite transmitters to monitor 20 reptiles’ movements. They found the crocodiles undertook numerous trips of over 10km (6.2 miles), but only when a current flowed in their direction. The results of the research paper appear in the Journal of Animal Ecology.
The TV personality Steve Irwin, who was nicknamed The Crocodile Hunter, but died in 2006, took part in the study.
“Of All the amazing things animals can do, the ability of certain species to migrate significant distances across formidable geographical barriers is one of the most remarkable,” said the authors of the study.
Although the crocodiles spend most of their life in salt water, they are not considered marine animals as they rely on land for food and water.
During research, a team led by Dr. Hamish Campbell, from the University of Queensland, captured 20 crocodiles living in the North Kennedy tidal river in Queensland and tagged them with satellite transmitters.
“These crocodiles can survive for long periods in saltwater without eating or drinking, so by only traveling when surface currents are favorable, they would be able to move long distances by sea,” commented Dr. Campbell.