Lets Talk Animals

Animal Behaviors

Anyone with a pet has witnessed strange domestic animal behavior before. We are taught a very simple view of animal psychology in school, but it is often mistaken. We are taught that animals have a very rudimentary way of understanding the world, but the animal behaviors we see contradict this. Cats, for example, crave attention. They can do very human things such as sitting down in your lap the moment you want to get to work in order to distract you. Whatever the scientists say, every cat lover knows that felines have definite personalities.

Dog animal behavior is also quite fascinating and unusual. Everyone knows that dogs get into fights from time to time, but people don't realize the dogs also make up after those fights. Animal behaviors can be so much like humans that it is sometimes hard to believe. For example a dog who has just won a fight with another dog will occasionally make amends by rolling over on its back in order to demonstrate that it doesn't want to totally dominate the other creature. Sometimes when dogs are wrestling, you also see these sorts of animal behaviors. A bigger dog will roll over on his back for a smaller one as a way to keep the little dog playing. That way, the little dog feels like he has accomplished something, and the big dog gets to continue to have a playmate.

It is tempting to view this domestic animal behavior as anomalous, but anyone who has spent any time watching nature documentaries knows this is not true. Animal behaviors can be learned from humans, but animals in the wild also exhibit complex social structures. Not only do they fight and display animal mating behavior, but they also socialize in very complicated ways. Monkeys and apes groom each other, spend time relaxing together, and even seem to gossip in their own primitive way. Even turtles are social creatures. If you have ever been canoing around an area with lots of turtles on a sunny day, you will see them sunning themselves one on top of the other.

It is also worth noticing the animal behaviors that are kind of, well, animalistic. For me, the best animals to look at for this kind of behavior are birds. Birds have elaborate ritualistic dance or actions for almost everything. They move around in rhythmic ways for mating dances, use certain calls to warn off other birds from their territories, and puff themselves up while moving their heads back and forth as a way to scare off potential predators or rivals.

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