The study of animal behaviour.

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Do animals demonstrate target practice (i.e., playful accuracy behavior)?

Do animals demonstrate any sort of accuracy-motivated play? (please provide examples!) Consider most human sports and related hobbies. Most share the common goal of hitting a target or being ...
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Do ants use something similar to the honey bee “waggle dance” to instruct the rest of the colony where to find a food source?

In the 20 years since we built our home, we've just recently had our first ant infestation. I'm familiar with the fact that ants leave scent trails to find their way back and forth between the ...
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Are there any animals that gradually approaches the predator to search for food?

I was wondering if there is an animal (or insect, bird, etc.) that eventually comes close to its predator to search for food, but only does so if it couldn't find food in the environment it is in. So ...
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Why would a python go after such large prey?

Here's a Python eating a crocodile: (photo credit Tiffany Corlis) I read that most Pythons would go for smaller prey, around the size of a house cat, but that larger species enjoy crocodiles, deer ...
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What are some examples of small-scale physical phenomena that snakes fear?

What are some ways to use technology to repel snakes? One idea I was researching is low-frequency sound, which I read snakes could "feel" even though they are naturally deaf. Would this be a viable ...
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What are these two fruit flies doing?

When taking some pictures I accidentally captured two fruit flies doing this: The photos are unfortunately blurry, but from what I can tell, one fly approaches the other from behind, and something ...
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Is there any documented evidence for suicide among vertebrates other than humans?

Is there any documented evidence for suicide among vertebrates other than humans? Lemmings not accepted !
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Why Can't the passage of acquired behavior be considered acquired inheritance?

While reading about a cross-fostering experiment conducted on Male California mice and Peromyscus californicus, I came across the fact that the behavior acquired by a generation of mice due to ...
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Why do snails come out after the rain?

Many times, when there is rain after a long time, snails come out afterwards, and you can see snails and slugs everywhere! I have two questions: Why do they come out after the rain? Where are they ...
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Why do we laugh?

Why is it that the reaction we get from absurdity is laughter? Everyone does it, even babies. Is there a reason why it is our instinct to laugh when we see or hear something absurd/humorous
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Do reptiles hunt?

I encountered the following passage in the book The Art of Interactive Design by Criss Crawford (bold formatting is mine): [...] From stalking and evasion to the chase, the [interaction between ...
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Do “virgin” ant queens ever shed their wings?

In species that reproduce sexually, if an ant queen goes on a nuptial flight and does not successfully mate, will she still shed her wings and try to found a colony (although she probably won't ...
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Was this snake behaving abnormally?

This morning, I walked out front of my house to find a medium-sized snake balled up on my driveway beneath my motorcycle. I spotted it from my porch so I didn't walk any closer. I believe it was a ...
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Do any predatorial animals attempt to appear smaller?

There are many animals that have behaviors or characteristics to make themselves appear larger than they are as a defense mechanism, such as butterflies have large eye patterns on their wings. Are ...
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Any examples of animal behavior in response to meteor showers?

I just spent two nights observing the Perseids and was wondering whether any animals have been recorded to exhibit unusual behaviour in response to meteor showers. It is known that some animals ...
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Why do people and animals stretch out their bodies and what is causing this behaviour?

I noticed that my cat which is only 6 months old has started stretching its body from time to time. Then I thought that this motion doesn't seem very natural from another cat's viewpoint, so my cat ...
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Why do cats like enclosed spaces (e.g. boxes) so much?

A recent article doesn't reach a firm conclusion, but offers two possible explanations. Hiding is a behavioral strategy of the species to cope with environmental changes and stressors. It ...
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How did the tendency to perform death rituals evolve?

Both elephants and humans perform rituals when deaths occur. However, I do not see any evolutionary benefit of this. The rituals take time, which apparently could be better spent hunting, foraging, ...
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Are grasshoppers monogamous?

Noticed two grasshoppers jumping together on the porch, and started wondering if they are monogamous? I am aware they have males and females.
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Can beavers control the direction a tree falls?

We humans can easily control the direction a tree falls by making a number of strategic cuts, essentially creating a hinge: This prevents trees from falling on equipment and people and sets them up ...
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Are we more attracted to people of the same ethnicity? [closed]

Are humans more attracted to people from their own ethnic groups? I ask this because most of the time people have relationships with people of their own ethnicity, and I wonder if it's purely social, ...
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Crow branch pecking behaviour

I was walking through a small park when two crows started cawing at me, and followed me, flying from tree-to-tree as I walked. I speculate that this is a territorial or protective behaviour, but what ...
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Do any birds have established “poke a predator's eyes out” behavior?

Is there a pattern/tactics of behavior in any birds species that consists of attacking a predator's eyes with its beak? I'm looking for established tactics, not 1 or 2 anecdotal examples.
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Does level of bats activity differs from day to day?

Say we measure bats activity as number of passes through given area. Can it differ significantly depending from day to day or it stays on average roughly the same? I am wondering whether the following ...
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Why do pigeons kill their chicks when touched by a human?

I used to have many pigeons around the house. If by chance one of the chicks fell out of the nest, we used to put it back using gloves. Usually, if we would touch the chicks with our bare hands, ...
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Can dolphins actually communicate linguistically?

Humans use "language." By language, I mean the thing I am using right now to talk to you. I know dolphins and orcas have very complex communication systems and also seem to process linguistic and ...
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Advantages of gregarious vs solitary behaviour?

I'm trying to explain why birds (specifically wildfowl) are gregarious during the winter and solitary during the summer. I think that in winter, birds are gregarious to reduce the risk of predation ...
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Is homosexuality an adaptation in humans?

Homo sapiens have menopause - as some other mammals (e.g. some Cetacea) - a phenomenon where older females live for decades after the end of their own reproduction. Perhaps homosexuality, that looks ...
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Why do these earthworms stay between the road lines?

This article shows pictures of earthworms during floods in Texas. The worms ball up, supposedly in order to survive the floods. Can anyone explain the phenomenon a little? I can't seem to find ...
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Do species other than humans have distinct daily feeding patterns?

I have a general interest in complex adaptive systems and I have found that nature and the organisms within it is a perfect natural case of a rich adaptive system with a lot of possibilities for ...
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Do ant colonies prioritize survival of particular members above others?

In some (perhaps small) human communities people may starve because they have no income. This could be interpreted as a consequence of them not participating in the community, hence they don't get any ...
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Does any animal species have two sexes and more genders?

Does it exist any animal species that have two sexes and a kind of different internal diversification in two genders or more? I mean no something like different-task-based diversity but something ...
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What triggers the migration of robins?

I live in central Massachusetts, and have begun seeing robins, as we generally do in early March. The temperature is well below normal, though, and three feet of snow are covering the still-frozen ...
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Why can all animals swim in water without learning to swim but humans cannot?

I had a question since I was a child. I was always curious about the fact that all animals can swim in water. They don't need any training or to learn swimming. But humans need to learn to swim. Why ? ...
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Do animals also dream?

By "dream", I mean: Dreaming while sleeping. Dreaming about their future life while being awake. Thank you in advance.
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Why don't birds in flocks fly into each other?

I've seen videos of hundreds of birds flying in the same general direction but creating incredible patterns in the sky seemingly instantaneously! How do they all know in what direction to turn at the ...
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Can canines communicate with each other using gaze direction?

After researching why humans have white scleras when most primates have dark scleras, I stumbled upon the cooperative eye hypothesis. It proposed that white scleras may have evolved on behalf that it ...
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Why do some animals try to imitate other animals?

There is a tendency of some animals (including people!) to be "copy-cats" and try to imitate members of their own, and sometimes other, species. The most obvious example is a parrot copying human ...
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Facultative Cannibalism?

I heard about Larger cats eating the cubs. Is it some kind of facultative cannibalism or they can eat there own kind like that? What are the facultative cannibalism present in animal kingdom? What ...
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How come most animals never seem to evolve over millenia?

People often say, including those with extensive knowledge in biology, that a certain species of animal will evolve in one way or another: 1.From changing environments. 2.Mutations. 3.Possibly even ...
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What if rB=C in hamilton's rule?

Hamilton's rule states that if rB>C then a gene giving altruistic behaviour will increase in frequency in the population. What would happen if rB=C? Will an individual perform the altruistic act?
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Are domesticated animals really “more intelligent,” or is that a myth/misunderstanding?

Often do I hear people speaking of how the domestic house cats are more friendly, less ferocious, less savage-like, and smarter and/or than their distinct but equivalent feline-species friends, like ...
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Why not use non-visual self-recognition to test for consciousness in an organism?

Background A well-known test for consciousness in an organism is to observe its ability to recognise itself in a mirror (see wikipedia article: "Mirror test"). Question Why haven't I come across a ...
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302 views

Do wolves bury food like dogs?

Many breeds of domestic dogs seem to like burying food, presumably in preparation for leaner times. Assuming that dogs evolved from animals similar to the modern wolves through a mix of natural and ...
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For how long can a raven stay airborne (a week or more)?

I'm wondering for how long a raven can stay continuously airborne, if strained to do so? If it makes a difference, I'm mostly interested in the Common raven, Corvus corax. Are there for instance any ...
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Where do migratory birds go when it rains?

I was reading a comic from XKCD which inspired me to ask this question: "well, where do they go when it rains?" I know that when it rains you usually don't see any birds flying through the sky. I ...
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Book-recommendation: Ethology

I am looking for a book that covers the following topics in ethology: Behaviour Sensory filtering, reponsive-ness, sign stimuli, learning and memory, instinct, habituation, conditioning, ...
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Which factors may affect a choice of an oviposition place in nocturnal moths?

Winter Moth (Operophtera brumata) is a small brachypterous (females have stunned wings - unable to fly) moth which places eggs on thick branches. I would like to know which abiotic and biotic factors ...
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102 views

What is this woodlouse doing?

I picked an apple from the ground, it was wet with dew and a woodlouse was stuck to it, with its back against the apple. When it got loose, it started flexing its "tail" like this for a while. Why?
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Dogs bark at familiar person in Santa costume. Why? Don't dogs trust smell over vision?

Last night 10 humans and 2 dogs spent Christmas together. At some point, one human dissappears for a few minutes and comes back wearing a full Santa outfit. Upon respawning, the dogs start barking ...