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Crocodilians use tools for hunting

How do crocodiles catch their flighty friends? Though we might expect birds to easily evade their captors, crocodiles have been exposed as the masterminds of a new hunting method.

Lying still in the water and balancing sticks and twigs on their snouts or in their mouths, the crocodiles appear more cunning than a fox.  At a time of nesting, innocent birds fly down to collect extra foliage for their new homes but are met with an altogether different home coming – to the great bird’s nest in the sky.

Though the use of objects as hunting lures is very rare in nature, a recent study reveals the use of twigs and sticks to lure birds by two crocodilian species. The research is published in the current edition of Ethology, Ecology and Evolution and is the first report of tool use by any reptiles.  It is also the first known case of predators timing the use of lures to a seasonal behaviour of the prey, namely nest-building.
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