So far as it is known there are solitary animals and social animals.

Does introversion exist among nonhuman primates? says that there are introverts among social animals:

Recent studies have identified extraversion/introversion in great apes, including chimpanzees, gorillas and orangutans. Chimps exhibiting greater solitary and reserved behaviors are considered more introverted, whereas those that are more playful and interactive fall on the extraverted side of the spectrum. Extraversion/introversion behaviors, such as sociability, have also been identified in species of monkeys.

Are there extroverts among solitary animals? I mean those who seek union with others although the vast majority of animals of their species are solitary?

  • $\begingroup$ I don't think it makes sense to talk about extraversion/introversion in anything but social animals; those are also quite anthropomorphized terms (though I have no problem applying them to other primates). $\endgroup$
    – Bryan Krause
    Commented Jul 31, 2017 at 15:06

1 Answer 1


So solitariness vs sociality in animals is a little more complex than we usually give it credit for. For example, even in species previously thought to be largely solitary except for mating, sustained observation and tracking often shows that previously assumed to be solitary individuals actually do interact and sometimes develop lasting social relationships with conspecifics, just not at times when people are observing them. This is a particularly common finding in nocturnal animals among males who are assumed to be solitary, such as buck deer who turn out to be more social than does--just primarily at night!

That Wikipedia article you cited for 'solitary animal' is actually pretty shitty when you get down to it; the list of "solitary animals" include several generic terms for animals that include common species known to have variable social systems depending on region, such as badgers, moose, jaguars, cheetahs (in whom males, often brothers usually form lasting social relationships), red fox, and devils, who actually encounter each other quite frequently over kills and scavenging sites. (Citations are listed in this Collabedit file, because Stack Exchange is yelling at me for trying to provide actual links.)

In that context, I don't think many people have done behavioral syndrome/"animal personality" work on sociality, because it's not a particularly good thing to measure--you're really measuring something more like 'aggression threshold.' People have done work on species like social spiders where sociality varies significantly between individuals, however.


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