Orange Cave Crocodiles May Be Evolving Into a New Species
The crocodiles are known to feast on bats and soak in guano that tans their skin orange.
The Abanda cave system in Gabon is not a place you want to live.
In the belly of the caves, it's pitch black and hot. Fumes circulating inside tend to cause nausea.
And cavers have to wade through sludge.
"It looks like liquid mud," says cave scientist Olivier Testa, "but it's not mud."
It's bat guano. A lot of it.
Mixed with water, it becomes viscous pools of bat feces.
"It's an extremely harsh environment," says herpetologist Matthew Shirley. "When we leave the caves, we're wiped."
But Testa and Shirley are part of a scientific research team that has found an animal they think may be evolving to live in the harsh caves—crocodiles.
To test this, they collected