For millenia, a battle has raged between alligators and water melons. Who will win? Well, the answer’s obvious: one has a bite force of over 15,000 Newtons, and the other one’s a water melon. Yes, the alligator vs water melon craze has gone mainstream, as testified by its appearance on Sky News… though, god help them, they managed to mistake an alligator for a crocodile. Hopeless. Anyway…
It’s gratifying and amusing to see an alligator destroy a water melon with such devastating ease [for more information, see the accompanying text at youtube]. But there are a few other things of interest. The neat little bounding leap that the alligator does before dispatching its foe almost looks playful. If I was prone to rampant speculation I’d wonder if the alligator shown in the clip knew what was about to happen and was looking forward to it. Recall that play behaviour has now been reported for crocodilians. Actually, the alligator shown in action here (called Doofy, it belongs to Gator Adventure Productions) is engaging in some enrichment behaviour: it’s reported that Doofy and the other alligators seems to enjoy crushing up melons.
Also of note is that Doofy actually eats some of the melon at the end of the clip, and that other ‘gators are shown eating melons too. Long-time readers will realise the importance of this: ever since Brito et al. (2002) there’s been a debate as to how important fruit might be in the crocodilian diet. I covered this back in October 2008 when I learnt about the fruit-eating antics of the alligators at the St. Augustine Alligator Farm Zoological Park. John Brueggen (2002) published accounts of cases where captive alligators and crocodiles were seen eating limes, kumquats and other fruits, as well as leaves [adjacent picture, from Brueggen's online version of the article, shows an Orinoco crocodile Crocodylus intermedius eating leaves]. Well, here are yet more fruit-eating alligators.
Thanks once again to Markus Bühler for the heads-up!
For previous articles on amazing crocodilians see…
- The world’s largest modern crocodilian skull
- Do crocodilians (sometimes) feed their young?
- Leopard vs crocodile (better late than never)
- Purussaurs: monster caimans of the Miocene
- Tet Zoo picture of the day # 14 (on giant Saltwater crocs)
Refs – -
Brito, S. P., Andrade, D. V. & Abe, A. S. 2002. Do caimans eat fruit? Herpetological Natural History 9, 95-96.
Brueggen, J. 2002. Crocodilians: fact vs. fiction. In International Union of the Conservation of Nature, Crocodile Specialist Group 1, pp. 204-210.