Category Archives: animal behavior

A baby elephant’s first steps

I don’t know much about these videos except that they’re of African elephants (probably the bush elephant, Loxodontia africana). This one shows a baby elephant’s first halting steps, accompanied by loud complaining. Notice how both adults try to help it up. . . . and a 10-minute video of an elephant giving birth and the […]

Directionally asymmetrical eyes (and behavior) in a squid: left eye big, right eye small

Last week I wrote three posts (1, 2, and 3) on “directional asymmetry”: the phenomenon whereby an animal is asymmetrical in a way that shows “handedness”; that is, a trait is differentially expressed or developed on a consistent side of the body, either the right or the left. One example is the enlarged canine tooth of […]

Friday fun: River otter playing in the snow, “dubstep” made with bird sounds and lagniappe

Let’s finish the week seven days closer to death than we were last week, but maybe a bit happier. Have a river otter sliding on the snow. (I wonder if he’s having fun or doing what penguins do: sometimes moving by sliding on the belly.) I didn’t know what a “dubstep” was before, but now I […]

Gecko skins itself to escape predators

Some of you may find this gross, but it’s still a remarkable achievement of natural selection, and one of those weird things that abound in nature but most of which are yet to be described.  It’s the discovery of a “fish-scale” gecko that easily sheds its scales when caught, revealing a bizarre, naked reptile that […]

Readers’ wildlife photos

Nature isn’t always pretty, particularly when natural selection is acting, as it might be here. These photos come from reader Robert Lang, who called the sequence, “Brown water, green death.”  His  captions are indented: These are some photos from a trip last year to Kenya. One of the highlights of the trip was watching a […]

Selective tool use in ants

You’re probably aware that tool use, once considered a uniquely human phenomenon, has now been documented widely in primates and birds. You may not know, though, that it’s also been seen in some insects, as in wasps that use pebbles to close off their burrows after laying eggs. Ants, too, have been seen to use […]

Readers’ wildlife photos

Please keep those photos coming in, for they get depleted quickly! Today we have two sets of photos showing aggressive behavior. The first is from reader Dick Kleinknecht of Washington State. His notes: We have an acre or so meadow just below our house (near Seattle, Washington) that often provides entertainment from wildlife: lots of deer, some elk, […]

Mammals in the snow

To end a snowy day, here are two videos of Giant Pandas in the snow. The first shows the Toronto Zoo’s panda Da Mao frolicking in newly fallen snow: and twin cubs in the snow: And here from the CBC News is a heartwarming (and catwarming) story of a nearly frozen cat rescued by a […]

Readers’ wildlife photographs

I seem to have lost this batch of photos, but fortunately reader Loren Russell re-sent them the other day. His notes: The pix were taken on a trip from Corvallis to LA along Cal 1.  This is the rookery at Piedras Blancas, just south of the Sur Coast.  A wonderous case of back from near […]

The mighty pinch of the coconut crab

The coconut crab, or “robber crab” (Birgus latro), is the largest terrestrial arthropod in the world, with individuals weighing up to four kg (about 9 pounds).  They have a wide range: But because of their size and the fact that they’re tasty, they’ve been largely driven extinct by humans on populated islands. Here’s how big they are: They […]