Crocodilian Energy


    IMPERIAL AIRWAYS inform us that at the end of July, while one of their pilots was taking off in a flying boat at Port Bell on Lake Victoria, a crocodile gave a remarkable display of agility. The flying-boat had just taken to the air when, about forty yards away, a crocodile about nine feet long leapt full length out of the water, clearing the surface with its whole body by about four feet. Apart from its natural history interest, the occurrence was unusual, since, before a flying-boat takes off, the surrounding water is most carefully patrolled to guard against possible obstacles, and the flying-boats operate as far as possible from areas known to be haunted by crocodiles. This unusual air leap of the crocodile is analogous to the leaping of salmon and other fishes, for propulsion is due in both cases to the powerful movements of the tail muscles. The size of the individual, a young individual of a species Crocodilus niloticus, which may exceed twenty feet in length, illustrates a characteristic of many animals, that the young are notably more nimble than adults.

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    Crocodilian Energy. Nature 142, 326 (1938).

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