Category Archives: animal behavior

Halloween special: elephants

Here’s a treat: giant elephant eating hypertrophied pumpkins. They are, of course, Asian elephants (ears are small), Elephas maximus. The caption from the Oregon Zoo: Visitors watched some of the world’s largest land animals demolish a couple of the area’s largest pumpkins at 11 a.m. Friday, Oct. 18, during the Oregon Zoo’s annual Squishing of […]

Tool-using ants build siphons to wick sugar water out of containers, keeping them from drowning

It’s now recognized that the use of tools is widespread in animals, and the article below from Functional Ecology (pdf here, reference at bottom) notes that there are fifty examples known in insects alone.  Some of these, in ants, involve using various substances like leaves or stuck-together bits of dirt to sop up sweet liquids […]

Bees cook giant hornets to death

This interaction between giant Asian hornets and bees kicks off my chapter on natural selection in Why Evolution is True, for it’s truly an amazing example. The wasps themselves are multifarious examples of natural selection, and introduced European bees have problems with raiding hornets who kill off all the adults and eat the honey and […]

Slo-mo films of flying insects

Here are some gorgeous videos of flying insects from Ant Lab.  The YouTube notes are below: Takeoff and flight sequences of insects spanning 8 different taxonomic orders captured at 3,200 fps! 00:00 – intro 01:17 – plume moth 01:20 – firefly 02:32 – painted lichen moth 03:14 – leafroller moth 03:31 – rosy maple moth […]

Does a split jumping spider, half male and half female, behave as a male, a female, or both?

Occasionally in some species—mostly insects—we see the phenomenon of gynandromorphs: individuals that, through a genetic or developmental accident, have parts of the body that are male, and other parts that are female. They are patchworks of sex. These are most easily spotted in insects, but may have been missed in other species (alternatively, gynandromorph insects […]

Sashimi breakfast for pet otters

It can’t be a picnic living with an otter, but these people have two of them: Kotaro and Hana. I don’t know how these people got Asian Small-Clawed Otters (Aonyx cinareus), but so be it. At least they’re litter-trained and get really fancy food, as you can see from this video. Here are the YouTube […]

Standoff: Rooster vs. baby goat

Just in: baby goat and rooster go mano a mano. This battle is a mismatch, for the rooster could hurt the goat, even putting out its eye. Fortunately, no mammals or birds were harmed in the making of this video. The YouTube notes: Occurred on August 25, 2020 / Cumming, Georgia, USA “The baby goats […]

Toby, the duck-guarding dog

Finally—d*gs do something good for waterfowl besides scaring them. Here we have a maremma (technically known as the Maremmano-Abruzzese Sheepdog) who spends his days guarding ducks). These dogs are best known as sheep guardians,  but they do a terrific job with ducks. Or at least Toby does. From Gold Shaw Farm, we have these terse […]

Headbutting lessons

It sure looks as if this sheep is teaching the cow to butt heads, as there’s no serious cranical contact. How lovely to have seen this, though! And here’s an adorable baby goat acting according to the dictates of its DNA.  The cat, of course, isn’t having any headbutting.

Modeling the huddling behavior of Emperor penguins: everybody gets equal warmth

Every winter (spring in the Northern Hemisphere), after having produced a chick, female Emperor penguins  (Aptenodytes forsteri) head off to sea for two months to fatten up, while the males stay behind, foodless for over 100 days, to tend the chicks. (The males get their turn to eat later, but often walk about 100 km […]