Florida tests using magnets to repel crocodiles

By | February 27, 2009

Florida tests using magnets to repel crocodiles

Florida wildlife managers have launched an experiment to see if they can keep crocodiles from returning to residential neighborhoods by temporarily taping magnets to their heads to disrupt their “homing” ability. Researchers at Mexico s Crocodile Museum in Chiapas reported in a biology newsletter they had some success with the method using it to permanently relocate 20 of the reptiles since 2004.

“We said Hey we might as well give this a try ” Lindsey Hord the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission s crocodile response coordinator said on Tuesday. Crocodiles are notoriously territorial and when biologists move them from urban areas to new homes in the wild they often go right back to the place where they were captured traveling up to 10 miles a week to get there. Scientists believe they rely in part on the Earth s magnetic fields to navigate and that taping magnets to both sides of their heads disorients them. “They re just taped on temporarily ” Hord said. “We just put the magnets on when they re captured and since they don t know where we take them they re lost. The hope would be that they stay where we take them to.”

Hord and his co-workers have tried it on two crocodiles since launching the experiment in January affixing “a common old laboratory magnet” to both sides of the animals heads. One got run over by a car and died but the other has yet to return Hord said. Once an endangered species American crocodiles numbers have rebounded to nearly 2,000 in coastal south Florida their only habitat in the continental United States. That puts them in increasing contact with humans especially in areas where backyards border on canals around Miami and the Florida Keys. …

via NewsDaily: Florida tests using magnets to repel crocodiles.

Seems a bit cruel…

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