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Crocodiles say Surfs Up

  • 08 June 2010
  • Written by 
  • Published in Biology

According to new Australian research, helped out in part by the late "Crocodile Hunter" Steve Irwin, it has been discovered that crocodiles actually body surf between islands. Crocabunga dude!


The research was led by Australian biologist Hamish Campbell, who is associated with the University of Queensland, in Brisbane, Australia.

The research team began the experiment in 2006, trying to find out how saltwater crocodiles, of the same species, successfully made it to such far away locations as East India, Fiji, southern China, and northern Australia.

They tagged 27 crocodiles with acoustic transmitters, which also had sensors on them that recorded temperature and depth of the water, among other things.

Then, listening posts were set up in Queensland so that the researchers could track thw progress of the crocodiles from their homes.

Even though saltwater crocodiles are not very good swimmers, the researchers found that the animals actually can 'body surf' between islands.

The June 7, 2010 National Geographic Daily News article 'Crocodiles Body Surf to Hop Between Islands' states, 'After collecting data for a year, the team found that, before journeys of six miles (ten kilometers) or more, the reptiles would make use of outgoing tides, riding the surface currents that sweep water toward the mouths of rivers.'

Page two continues with more from body surfing crocodiles.




The National Geographic article continues with: 'If the currents changed, the crocs would climb onto river banks or sit on riverbeds, waiting until surfing conditions improved.'

And, 'The researchers then reanalyzed existing data on crocodiles in the open ocean. Those crocs were doing the same thing, the data show'”using currents to body surf for 60 miles (100 kilometers) or more.'

The researchers aren't sure why the crocodiles travel such long distances on the waves, but they think it might be to seek out food or a mate.

Please read the most informative article 'Crocodiles Body Surf to Hop Between Islands' by National Geographic (which was previously mentioned) for additional information on this very interesting subject.



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