Category Archives: animal behavior

Sequential shell swaps in hermit crabs

Here’s another Attenborough video featuring the lifelong attempts of hermit crabs to find shells that fit them as they grow. A hermit crab without a shell is a pathetic thing (see several at 2:39), easily taken by predators or cooked by the sun. Here’s a stunning behavior in which a line of crabs forms in […]

Divers give an octopus a new home

This is incredibly cute: the combination of the kind divers helping a vulnerable little octopus, the way the creature explores the proffered shells with its tiny tentacle, and its final acceptance of a new home. Lovely! Speaking of new homes, check this one out:

Coordinated wing-waving in bees

The tweet at the bottom got me looking for longer videos of this mesmerizing behavior, and I found one (from BBC Earth) on YouTube. The coordinated wing displays are said to deter predators, and I can’t think of any other reason for it, but I wondered if it there really were data showing that it […]

How to awaken a sleeping rabbit

You can’t touch it, either. But there’s an obvious solution. The video is mesmerizing, with the suspense building as the surrounding carrots increase in number. And then. . . . a sudden denouement! You can find anything on the Interent.   h/t: Matthew

Grey parrots show altruistic food-sharing behavior in the lab, but blue-headed macaws are selfish

A new paper in Current Biology by Désirée Brucks and Auguste van Bayern shows what looks like altruistic food sharing in grey parrots (click on screenshot below; pdf here; reference at bottom). I use the term “altruistic” a bit loosely, as true biological altruism occurs when an individual sacrifices its reproductive potential to enhance that […]

True facts about the male ostrich’s mating dance

Several readers sent me this new video by Ze Frank, which is shorter than his other videos and also has unique music (Ze Frank wrote  the music, too).  I had no idea that ostriches mate this way, and it’s interesting to contemplate what the female is looking for here when she’s “choosing”. (I don’t think […]

Crafty ducks avoid multiple attacks by a bald eagle

Reader Mark Sturtevant sent me this video on Yahoo News, but I found it on YouTube so I could embed it. It shows three crafty ducks living up to their names by diving when a bald eagle attacks them eight times. This took place in Colorado, and the video is courtesy of Colorado Parks and […]

The adaptive huddling of emperor penguins

The first video, called to my attention by reader Michael, describes the adaptive significance of the huddling of emperor penguins (Aptenodytes forsteri), the only penguin that breeds during the Antarctic winter (May-August). Laying eggs at that time, and rearing the chicks, these birds face some of the coldest temperatures on Earth. They deal with the […]

First observation of wild pigs using tools

A recent paper from Mammalian Biology (behind a paywall) details the first occurrence of tool-using in pigs (click on screenshot to see a bit of the paper). These aren’t domestic pigs, mind you, but the Visayan warty pig, Sus cebifrons, a critically endangered species endemic to three islands in the Philippines. Here’s the bristly beast under […]

Fossilized trilobites preserved parading in line. But why did they do this?

A new paper in Nature by Jean Vannier et al. reports the unusual finding of a parade of trilobites—a group of the ancient arthropods—apparently killed and fossilized while walking in tandem, like an invertebrate conga line. They’re 480 million years old, from the Lower Ordovician, and were found in Morocco. (The paper can be seen […]