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Crocs, Fruits and Seeds

Perhaps it’s not all that widely appreciated that several members of Crocodylia  (that’s the taxonomic order, not a thrash metal band) are quite partial to a bit of fruit now and again. In fact, reveals a new paper in the Journal of Zoology  “ … there is little doubt that on occasion, fruit is deliberately consumed, often in large quantities.“ Here’s video confirmation:

Leading to the question, has the study of Saurochory (seed dispersal by reptiles) overlooked the possible implications of Frugivory (eating fruit) by Crocodilians (crocodiles, alligators &etc.)?

The possibilities are discussed in : ‘Frugivory and seed dispersal by crocodilians: an overlooked form of saurochory?’ by authors Platt, Elsey, Liu, Rainwater, Nifong, Rosenblatt, Heithaus and Mazzotti (Journal of Zoology, Volume 291, Issue 2, October 2013 , pp. 87–99)

“Saurochory (seed dispersal by reptiles) among crocodilians has largely been ignored, probably because these reptiles are generally assumed to be obligate carnivores incapable of digesting vegetable proteins and polysaccharides.


Although there is no evidence for a crocodilian-specific dispersal syndrome similar to that described for other reptiles, our review strongly suggests that crocodilians function as effective agents of seed dispersal. Crocodilian saurochory offers a fertile ground for future research.”

Note: Dr. Rainwater, of the Medical University of South Carolina, has also performed a ‘Population Assessment of American Crocodiles (Crocodylus acutus) in Turneffe Atoll, Belize, 2008′

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