Washington: A new study has recently revealed that menacing crocodiles are fun loving animal too as they also take pleasure in activities like piggyback rides, surfing waves and playing ball.
Research by a psychology professor at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, has shown a softer side of the intimidating creatures, one that includes romping around with river otters and people. The findings could shed light on how intelligence has evolved.
The research shows that crocodilians engage in all three main types of play distinguished by behavior specialists: locomotor play, play with objects and social play. Play with objects was reported most often. Crocodilians have been spotted playing with wooden balls, noisy ceramic bits, streams of water, their prey and debris floating in the water.
Cases of locomotor play include young alligators repeatedly sliding down slopes, crocodiles surfing ocean waves and caimans riding currents of water in their pools. Observed cases of social play include baby alligators riding on their older friends' backs, baby caimans playfully "courting" each other and a male crocodile giving his lifetime mate rides on his back.
Crocodiles have also been seen playing with other animals. Dinets observed a juvenile alligator playing with a river otter. In rare cases, individual crocodilians have been known to bond so strongly with people that they become playmates for years.
This knowledge might help determine how intelligence evolves and what was needed for its development.
The study is published in the journal Animal Behavior and Cognition.