Cookies Policy

This site uses cookies. By continuing to browse the site you are agreeing to our use of cookies.

I accept this policy

Find out more here

Born to be bad: agonistic behaviour in hatchling saltwater crocodiles (Crocodylus porosus)

No metrics data to plot.
The attempt to load metrics for this article has failed.
The attempt to plot a graph for these metrics has failed.
The full text of this article is not currently available.

Brill’s MyBook program is exclusively available on BrillOnline Books and Journals. Students and scholars affiliated with an institution that has purchased a Brill E-Book on the BrillOnline platform automatically have access to the MyBook option for the title(s) acquired by the Library. Brill MyBook is a print-on-demand paperback copy which is sold at a favorably uniform low price.

Access this article

+ Tax (if applicable)
Add to Favorites
You must be logged in to use this functionality

image of Behaviour

Detailed observations on groups of captive saltwater crocodile (Crocodylus porosus) hatchlings revealed sporadic periods of intense agonistic interactions, with 16 highly distinctive behaviours, in the morning (06:00–08:00 h) and evening (17:00–20:00 h) in shallow water. Ontogenetic changes in agonistic behaviour were quantified by examining 18 different groups of hatchlings, six groups each at 1 week, 13 weeks and 40 weeks after hatching. Agonistic interactions between hatchlings at 1 week of age (mean 7.3 ± 0.65/night) were not well-defined and varied in intensity (low, medium, high), number of individuals that were aggressive, and the outcome, while most interactions involved contact (94.5%). There were also clutch specific differences in the frequency of agonistic interactions. At 13 and 40 weeks, a more hierarchal dominance relationship appeared to be established which primarily involved aggression–submission interactions. Agonistic interactions were more frequent (13 weeks 9.7 ± 0.61/night; 40 weeks 22.2 ± 0.61/night) and intense (medium, high), but shorter in duration, in which the subordinate individual fled in response to an approach by a dominant animal that often gave chase but did not make contact. While the full repertoire of behaviour was displayed by hatchlings at 1 week of age, a smaller subset based on dominance status was displayed among 13- and 40-week-old hatchlings. Agonistic behaviour occurs in C. porosus shortly after hatching and is important in establishing and maintaining dominance hierarchies that are characterised by aggression–submission interactions. This type of interaction appears typical for C. porosus both in the wild and in captivity, and may be important in preventing serious injury in a species equipped with formidable armoury. Dispersal by hatchling C. porosus at around 13 weeks of age appears to be driven by a growing intolerance of conspecifics, while territoriality is apparent at an early age. Consequently, agonistic behaviour and social status may be major contributors to the observed differences in growth rates and survival in captivity.

Affiliations: 1: cDepartment of Fisheries, Wildlife and Conservation Biology, University of Minnesota, Saint Paul, MN 55108, USA; 2: aResearch Institute for the Environment and Livelihoods, Charles Darwin University, Darwin, NT 0909, Australia


Full text loading...


Data & Media loading...

Article metrics loading...



Can't access your account?
  • Tools

  • Add to Favorites
  • Printable version
  • Email this page
  • Subscribe to ToC alert
  • Get permissions
  • Recommend to your library

    You must fill out fields marked with: *

    Librarian details
    Your details
    Why are you recommending this title?
    Select reason:
    Behaviour — Recommend this title to your library
  • Export citations
  • Key

  • Full access
  • Open Access
  • Partial/No accessInformation