Crocodiles That Can Bite After Death

About a species of crocodile that can still bite after it has died, explanation of the bizarre occurence.

THOMAS R. HENRY'S 10 BEST ODDITIES

A Crocodile with Life after Death "There is an animal that can bite--it might even slash off a man's arm--after it is dead. Alive it is relatively inoffensive. Being killed makes it positively mad.

"Its uncanny ability to bite half an hour or more after its neck has been broken is a major risk for followers of one of the most adventurous of professions--the jungle crocodile hunters. Their story is a saga paralleling that of the Antarctic whalers who 1st told of Moby Dick. One of the most expert of them is Dr. Fred Medem, Smithsonian collaborator and professor of zoology at the University of BogotĀ·. He has twice been bitten painfully by 'dead' reptiles.

"The animal is the caiman, smaller than either alligator or crocodile and probably more closely related to the former. Its hide, like that of its 2 fellow crocodilians, is valuable for leather and during the past few years it has been pursued close to extinction by professional hunters in Colombian and Brazilian jungles and lagoons. Dr. Medem is an eminent zoologist. He doesn't believe, of course, that any animal that is completely dead can bite off a man's arm, but he is hard put to explain what he himself has experienced. He thinks that part of the caiman's nervous system which activates its snout and mouth is some how disconnected from the rest and does not die at the same time. Thus the dead reptile has no consciousness when it bites. It is a reflex action of one small segment of the nervous system that somehow is not completely dead."

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