We have a morbid fascination with predators. And we've had it since the very first people carved figures or painted on cave walls thousands of years ago. Predators are still revered as gods in many cultures. Our cultural fascination is equalled only by our biological fear, hardwired into our primate brains, because if you are not a predator, you ARE the prey. In this series, Professor Adam Hart and explores our complex, challenging and ambiguous relationship with Earth’s greatest predators by talking to the women and men who know them best, researchers who have spent their lives tracking them, protecting them and, sometimes, narrowly escaping them.
Today it’s the crocodile, part of the group known as crocodilians which also includes alligators and gharials, which first appeared 95 million years ago during the Late Cretaceous period. Much like Tigers, they don’t stalk their prey but lie in wait – often just below the surface of the water, ready to leap out and snap those ferocious jaws on just about anything – including other predators. But as we’ll discover, there is a very different side to these much maligned creatures, who can be nurturing and cooperative. Adam speaks to Dr Marisa Tellez, Co-Founder of the Crocodile Research Coalition in Belize, Central America and Dr Alan Britton is a Zoologist and crocodile specialist in Darwin, Australia, who has a 5-metre croc named Smaug living in his back garden pond.
Produced by Rami Tzabar and Beth Eastwood
Picture: Caiman Crocodile's eye, close up, Credit: Jonathan Knowles/Getty Images