The Puzzle of the Frugivorous Crocs
Crocodylians have a carnivorous grin. Their conical teeth and crushing jaws leave little doubt of their predatory inclinations, and this impression is only reinforced by staple documentary scenes of Nile crocodiles launching themselves from the water with the aim of snagging an unwary zebra or wildebeest. Yet the fearsome Crocodylus niloticus – as well as twelve other species of crocodylian found around the world – occasionally snaffle up less meaty fare. A variety of crocodylians put their intimidating jaws to work on fruit and other vegetation; so much so that they may actually be significant players in helping plants disperse their seeds.
Wildlife Conservation Society herpetologist Steven Platt and colleagues have collated a list of fruit and seed-eating crocodylians in a