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Mystery Surrounds Crocodile Behavior as They Appear to “Escort” a Stray Dog to Safety

by Lisa

In an intriguing and unexpected display of behavior, crocodiles were observed seemingly guiding a stray dog to safety instead of pursuing it as prey. Scientists studying these reptiles are left puzzled by this unusual interaction and are struggling to comprehend why the crocodiles did not opt to devour the dog.

A report published in the August edition of the Journal of Threatened Taxa sheds light on the observation that stray dogs often frequent areas near bodies of water inhabited by mugger crocodiles.

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In one specific case under study, a lone dog, separated from its pack and pursued by feral dogs, sought refuge in the Savitri River, where three adult mugger crocodiles were present. The crocodiles took notice of the dog’s presence and approached it but refrained from launching an attack, even though they were well within striking distance, according to the researchers.

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Rather than displaying aggression, the researchers described the crocodiles’ behavior towards the dog as “docile,” noting that they nudged it away from an area where it could have become vulnerable to attacks by the feral dogs.

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The study further reveals that the crocodiles were observed touching the dog with their snouts, seemingly guiding and escorting it to a safer location.

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While the precise reason behind this behavior remains a mystery, the researchers suggest in the study that mugger crocodiles may possess a higher level of cognitive complexity than previously acknowledged. They posit that the crocodiles’ actions towards the dog might be indicative of a form of emotional empathy, challenging traditional perceptions of these reptiles’ behavior and cognition.

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