In India, a dog chased by other stray dogs dived into the river to escape them, but when he was about to drown, he was saved by crocodiles. You read well! The crocodiles that infest the river, instead of eating the poor dog, escorted him to the shore, as reported by the Journal of Threatened Taxa.
Researchers said how the marsh crocodiles guided the dog away from where the pack of barking dogs awaited him, on a riverbank in the western Indian state of Maharashtra.
The researchers explain, in a statement: "These crocodiles actually touched the dog with their snout and pushed it to move further to get back safely to the shore and finally escape.
Since the dog was within range of the crocodile and could have easily be devoured, implying that the drive for hunger was absent."
Stray dog dives into river but crocodile saves him
The researchers also point out that crocodiles are not always aggressive, but may have been driven by an emotional intelligence that came before the predatory instinct.
This case of a dog rescued by this group of crocodiles, the researchers and scientists report, seems more based on empathy than on altruistic behavior: "Reptiles are still underestimated when it comes to animal cognition."
Duncan Leitch, a biologist specializing in reptile neurophysiology at the University of California, Los Angeles, who was not involved in the research, explained: "Crocodiles have a sophisticated set of behaviors.
But some of these conclusions use a human definition of intelligence and try to find it in crocodiles. The biologist further explains that the authors may be coming from an anthropomorphic perspective and trying to attribute abilities that they potentially may not have.
Anecdotal findings such as those offered in this paper may offer prospects for further investigations. But in absence of more rigorous research are just that: anecdotal."
The marsh crocodile is found in India, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Pakistan, Nepal, the southern tip of Iran, most likely in Indochina and somewhere in southern Iraq.
This species is the only crocodile found in Pakistan and Iran, and is by far the superior species of the three crocodilid species found in India.