Category Archives: animal behavior

Raccoon rides alligator

UPDATE: A reader in the comments (#2) gives a reference suggesting that this photo may be a fake. Stay tuned. _________ If this photo hasn’t gone viral, it will. It shows a raccoon (Procyon lotor) riding an alligator (Alligator mississippiensis) in Florida. WPTV in West Palm Beach gives details: A Palatka man’s son was able […]

Rock climbing bears

Alex Honnold has nothing on these bears. Although I knew of the fearlessness and dexterity of wild sheep and goats on vertical rock slopes (the ones who weren’t so skillful didn’t leave descendants!), I wasn’t aware that bears had joined the rock-climbing club. The information below comes from Stephanie Latimer, who made the video in Big […]

My whale and sea lion encounter

Kris Rossing, a reader, is a Senior Aquarium Biologist at the Vancouver Aquarium, undoubtedly the best such facility (for both display and research) in Canada. Kris spends his time tending and studying endangered frogs (see a story here), and, when he heard I was coming to Vancouver, he kindly invited me to a behind-the-scenes look […]

Wild animals see themselves in a mirror for the first time

by Grania Jerry asked me to post this video after we both had come across it via different sources. I remember my own animals’ reactions to the mirror – we had a large one on the floor propped up against a wall once upon a time, and on various occasions a resident felid or canid […]

Mother weasel rescues bereft baby

Here’s a heartwarming moment for the end of the week. From The Dodo, via reader Su, we have an endearing video of a mother weasel and her string of offspring, who clamber to follow mom over a stone wall. One hapless baby gets left behind, but, after some weaselly distress calls, mom comes back to rescue […]

H is for Hawk

I can’t recommend highly enough the new book by Helen Macdonald: H is for Hawk.  It is up there with J. A. Baker’s The Peregrine as one of my favorite books about nature, but Macdonald’s book is very different. While Baker’s is about observing wild peregrines near his home, and is entirely lyrical writing about […]

A miracle? Sawfish born of a virgin mother

It’s been known for a while that many species, including some vertebrates, can reproduce without sexual reproduction. But of course to observe this, one usually needs to keep animals in the lab and then see them produce offspring without ever having mated. But a new article in Current Biology by Andrew Fields et al. (reference below, abstract […]

Two videos: banding peregrine chicks, and a cephalpod moves house

As I head home to pack (well, I’m nearly all packed anyway), I’ll leave you with two animal videos. The first shows the banding of peregrine falcon chicks on the Verrazano Narrows bridge in New York, where they’ve clearly installed nest boxes. The parents are flying about, deeply disturbed, and the chick kicks up one hell […]

A cat’s “solicitation purr” contains a cry, and sounds more urgent and unpleasant than a normal purr

Sadly, I haven’t owned (or rather, been owned by) a cat in a while, but those who do may recognize that there are several different kinds of purrs. The two most notable are the “solicitation purr,” in which your cat purrs urgently when it’s mealtime or it wants fusses, and the “non-solicitation purr”, in which your […]

Cooperative hunting in groupers and moray eels

Here’s a short video from Nature that isn’t based on a single research paper, but on the continuing work of Redouan Bshary, a biologist in Switzerland who studies interspecific communication and behavior in fish.  The article itself, a summary of Bshary’s work written by Alison Abbott, is called “Animal behaviour: Inside the cunning, caring and greedy minds […]


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