Category Archives: animal behavior

Kin selection in action: Man tries to disturb mother racoon and cubs, gets what he deserves

This moron not only tried to hit a raccoon with a broom, but then faced the wrath of a mother whose babies were obviously in the bin. DO NOT DO THIS! LET THE ANIMAL BE!

Panda discovers ice

I always love seeing animals encounter stuff in the environment that they’ve never experienced before. The classic genre of this is “a cat’s first time in the snow.” But this is even better: it’s the Toronto Zoo’s teenage panda, Jia Panpan, born in October of last year, encountering ice for the first time. (It’s said […]

Bear Cam in Alaska: watch them fish!

All my life I’ve wanted to watch the grizzlies (aka brown bears) in Alaska fish for salmon. Some day I will, in the fur. Well, now there’s a livecam at one of the most famous sites: Brooks Falls at Katmai National Park. Here the wily bears have learned that the salmon have to leap out […]

How frigatebirds stay aloft for weeks and weeks

Great frigatebirds (Fregata minor) are marvels of nature, for they’re known to stay aloft—without landing—for weeks and even months, though they have to descend to the water’s surface to fish. And it’s a good thing, too, for, unlike nearly every other seabird, their feathers aren’t waterproof and their legs are too small to land on […]

Raccoon mom and offspring form procyonid chain to rescue cub

All I can say is that we’ve had videos similar to this one before, and they show that raccoons (Procyon lotor) are a lot smarter than we think. (See, for instance, here, here, and here.) Below is the YouTube caption of a video posted just two days ago: Occurred June 16, 2016 / Camdenton High School, Camdenton, Missouri, […]

How to straighten a pig’s curly tail

I bet you didn’t know this trick. Don’t try this at home—unless you live on a farm.

Do cats understand the laws of physics?

Betteridge’s law of headlines would suggest that the answer is “no”, but the authors of a new paper in Animal Cognition beg to disagree. This short report (reference and free pdf below) tests the idea that cats can identify a rattling sound in a box as denoting an object in the box, and then, when the […]

Just to clarify about cat roaming

Yesterday I posted some range maps of Australian cats, showing wide roaming detected by putting GPS sensors on their collars.  (I’ve added one below.) Some readers claimed that the long trips might have been visits to the vet’s, another that virtually all the excursions were “artifacts.” Virtually nobody accepted cat tracks like these: Well, the study was replicated […]

Fox cub survives brush with death as it holes up in dishwasher

Dr. Simon Hayes, a vet in north London, found a fox cub in his dishwasher. As the Torygraph reports, how and why it got there is a mystery, but the paper has a video of the cub huddled inside the appliance. Hayes chased it out with a broom and, according to the news, the fox […]

Electric eels jump out of water to shock potential predators

Let’s start this summary of a new paper (by Kenneth Catnia in Proc. Nat. Acad. Sci. USA; reference and free download below) with a historical incident that helped motivate the work. This is how Catania’s paper begins: In 1807, Alexander von Humboldt published his account of a battle between electric eels and horses. The stage for this event […]

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