Magnets to repel crocodiles
Florida wildlife managers are experimenting with taping magnets to crocodile's head to disrupt their "homing" ability in order to keep them from returning to residential neighbourhoods. Crocodiles are very territorial as they often travel back to the place where they were captured even after biologists move them back into the wild.
This experiment is based on the notion that scientists believe crocodiles rely on the Earth's magnetic field to navigate and by taping magnets to both sides of their head, it will disorient 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.
Crocodiles are still classified as a threatened species even after rebounding to nearly 2,000 in coastal south Florida. Scientists are relunctant to move them to new areas where they might be killed by other resident crocodiles fighting for turf rights.
Crocodiles which returns to the place of capture more than twice are automatically sent to zoos or placed in captivity. Scientists are hoping this magnetic experiment will work to prevent captivity of the crocodiles.