If you’ve ever been to the Everglades, or tuned into the Animal Planet, you know that ‘gators can move through the water oh so silently, barely creating a ripple. It almost looks like they surface and sink, twist and turn, without so much as moving a muscle.
Well, it turns out they are moving some muscles. Just ones you can’t see. According to a study from the University of Utah, American alligators navigate gracefully through the murky water by shifting the location of their lungs. You see, the lungs act like internal flotation devices. And using a set of four muscles, including the alligator equivalent of our diaphragm, a gator can basically steer just by moving those floats around. When they want to surface, they shift their lungs forward. To dive, they push ‘em back. And to roll off in another direction, they just shift those babies to one side or the other. The findings will appear in the April issue of the Journal of Experimental Biology.
This ability to slice silently through the water without actually having to swim no doubt helps alligators sneak up on unsuspecting prey. Who never knew what hit them. And so will never have a chance to say: [song] “See you later, alligator…after a while, crocodile.”