Stray Dog Met Three Crocodiles On River And What Happened Next Surprised Everyone

Crocodiles are known to be dangerous. They’re meat-eaters and can be risky for anyone who gets too close. Hence, if you’re in their areas, like near a river or a lake, where they often hide their entire bodies underwater, it’s essential to be careful.

But you know, life can be full of surprises, and just the other day, something unusual happened. A dog accidentally met not one, but three crocodiles while swimming in a river. You’d think that’s a recipe for disaster, right? Well, what followed was quite surprising.

In a recent report published in the Journal of Threatened Taxa, scientists who have been studying marsh crocodiles (also known as muggers) in India, shared a surprising observation.

There was a young dog being chased by a pack of feral dogs, which eventually led the pup to seek refuge in the Savitri River. At this point, three adult muggers were nearby in the water, and they became interested in the dog.

Interestingly, despite adult male muggers being known to grow up to 18 feet in length and weigh up to 1,000 pounds, these massive reptiles don’t always display aggression. Instead of treating the dog as their potential meal, two of the crocs exhibited unexpectedly gentle behavior. They didn’t attack the dog; instead, they guided it away from the pack of dogs waiting for it on the river bank. They used their snouts to touch and nudge the dog to safety, even though they could have easily captured and eaten it.

So, why did the crocs choose empathy over a meal? Even the scientists aren’t entirely sure. Their best guess is that these muggers were demonstrating emotional intelligence. They suggest that the crocs might have experienced a form of “emotional empathy,” which allows one species to understand and relate to the emotions of another. While not extensively studied in reptiles, this could explain their unusual behavior.

“As far as animal cognition is concerned… reptiles have been underestimated and research in reptilian cognition hasn’t progressed much due to this bias,” the report’s abstract reads. “Though crocodiles are generally stereotyped as lethargic and lacking social interactions except for territoriality, parental care and prey ambush, they demonstrate discrete behavioral repertoire in a variety of situations suggestive of refined cognition.”

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