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Last Updated: Friday February 27 2009 13:54 GMT

Magnets used to confuse crocs

Crocodile with magnets attached

Crocodiles are posing less of a threat to people in Florida after scientists found an unusual way of distracting them: strapping magnets to their heads!

Researchers say crocs use the Earth's magnetic field to help them get around so having magnets on their heads makes them lose their sense of direction.

The technique is being tried to try to make streets safer in places near crocodile homes, like the Everglades.

That's because simply moving the crocs from residential areas doesn't work.

Experts say crocodiles are extremely territorial and some have been known to travel up to 10 miles a week to get back to the places they were captured.

To try to stop that, when a croc is caught in a residential area conservation workers are moving them deeper into the swamps before releasing them with magnets taped to their heads.

'Valuable creatures'

Lindsey Hord, of the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, said: "We put the magnets on when they're captured and since they don't know where we take them, they're lost."

"Crocodiles are unique and valuable creatures and we feel like we have a responsibility to live with these animals as much as we can."