Incredible moment three crocodiles save the life of dog that fell in river instead of eating it
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A trio of crocodiles saved a dog that had become stranded in a river, with a report suggesting it could have been a moment of ‘emotional empathy’ from the reptiles.
However, a report published in the Journal of Threatened Taxa outlines an unusual case where a young dog is chased into the shallow waters of the Savitri River, in India's Maharashtra by a pack of feral dogs.
Footage recording the incident showed the dog seemingly oblivious to the crocs, which could be seen nearby and slowly inching their way forward.
But rather than attempt to chow down on the dog, the crocodiles instead use their snouts to push the pooch to safety.
Not only that, but the footage even appears to show the crocodiles pushing the dog to an area of the riverbank that is clear of the aforementioned feral dogs - meaning he’s able to make a safe escape. Phew!
The study’s authors noted: “What initially seemed to be a classical predatory instinct of the (crocodile), soon turned out to be a more docile behaviour by two of the three crocodiles that guided the dog away from the site.”
Researchers went on to say the ‘curious’ incident could have been caused by ‘sentient behaviour suggestive of cross-species empathy’.
The study went on: “Given that the mugger was well within the striking range and could have easily devoured the dog, yet none of them attacked and instead chose to nudge it towards the bank, implies that the hunger drive was absent.
"We propose this to be a case of sentient behaviour of the mugger resulting in cross-species 'emotional empathy', which is not a very extensively investigated behaviour, though the capacity of one species to experience the emotional feelings of another species merits recognition.
"The curious case of a dog 'rescued' by the group of crocodiles reported here seems more on lines of empathy than altruistic behaviour.”
But before we all get too excited and go assuming our crocodilian friends have a sweet and cuddly side, the researchers also said there was very little research done on the mental capabilities of crocs.
The paper went on: “There is little research done on such mental faculties of reptiles and this paper opens novel vistas of understanding behaviour of muggers in general and that of Savitri River in particular.”