90 votes
Accepted

Do animals exhibit handedness (paw-ness?) preference?

Short Answer Yes. handedness (or Behavioral Lateralization) has been documented in numerous vertebrates (mammals, reptiles and birds) as well as invertebrates. This includes domestic cats (see Wells ...
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43 votes
Accepted

What do butterflies eat?

Adult butterflies don't eat! I mean.... not in the sense of chewing on food. They rather drink. They get their nutrients via ingestion of liquid substances. Their mouth consists of a long tube called ...
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  • 67.6k
40 votes
Accepted

How long before robin no longer needs the nest on my porch?

According to Cornell's All About Birds website, you will have to wait about a month for the nest to be cleared. The egg incubation period is 12–14 days. Following hatching, the nestlings will remain ...
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30 votes
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Can beavers control the direction a tree falls?

It is difficult to find a scientific answer to this question, but let me insert this citation from a specialist site: Contrary to popular belief, beaver cannot plan the direction in which trees ...
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  • 5,620
26 votes

Why is wombat scat (feces) shaped like cubes?

I'm almost certain that your question is based on the press that Patricia J Yang's research is receiving (e.g., here and here). Yang and her co-authors examined the structure and mechanics of some ...
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24 votes

What do butterflies eat?

Several species of the order Lepidoptera don't feed at all in adult form, surviving entirely on the reserves made while they were larva. Two examples I'm aware of are the Atlas moth (as well as most ...
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23 votes
Accepted

What is this grasshopper doing?

It's its ovipositor & it's trying to dig a hole to lay its eggs. "How Do Grasshoppers Dig Holes to Lay Their Eggs? After breeding, female grasshoppers dig a hole in the ground in which to lay ...
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  • 801
22 votes

What exactly is this small puffer fish doing and how did it manage to accomplish such a feat?

A tiny Japanese puffer fish creates a grand sand sculpture on the featureless seabed by using his fins to dig furrows. He uses this to attract the attention of passing females. Why do puffer ...
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  • 1,562
16 votes

What exactly is this small puffer fish doing and how did it manage to accomplish such a feat?

This "nest" is created by a male pufferfish for both courtship and for rearing young. The male puffer fish uses its body and fins (a combination of pectoral, anal, and caudal -- see here) to ...
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15 votes
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Facultative Cannibalism?

Lions Lions are a classic example of cannibalism. To understand why this occurs we have to understand their mating system. Males have a harem of females and males fight in order to access a harem (...
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15 votes
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Why do we laugh?

Like so much of biology, we just don't know! I'll preface this answer by disappointing you; this answer doesn't entirely answer your question. That's because this is a pretty big mystery in research ...
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14 votes
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Why do carnivores evolve?

I'm going to focus on the why do carnivores exist part of this question, which should be extendible to answer why humans eat meat. Let's start a thought experiment in which we only allow the ...
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  • 16k
14 votes
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Where do birds and squirrels go to die?

A major cause of squirrel death is predation: Survival and mortality of the Arizona gray squirrel (Sciurus arizonensis) Causes of red squirrel (Sciurus vulgaris) mortality in England You won't see ...
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  • 14.1k
13 votes
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Why do flies fly in circles?

Flies use any object they can find as a landmark. The flies patrol well-defined airspaces underneath landmarks like lampshades. ... Male flies approach a landmark from below and, in the absence of ...
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  • 7,077
12 votes
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Crow branch pecking behaviour

This is a good question. This type of behavior -- pecking at a branch, wiping the side of the beak on a branch, pulling off twigs and dropping them, or knocking off pieces of bark -- is quite common ...
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  • 1,771
11 votes
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How do ants know where they are going without eyes?

Well, first off, they have eyes, so there's that. However, a lot of what ants wish to achieve can be done through a combination of a random walk and chemical trails. When ants are exploring their ...
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11 votes
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What is this woodlouse doing?

It was moistening its respiratory and osmoregulatory organs: Woodlice as all other terrestrial arthropods face the major challenge of preserving water balance. In their case the two systems that ...
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  • 2,919
10 votes
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Why do people and animals stretch out their bodies and what is causing this behaviour?

Humans and other animals have lots of innate behaviors that are not learned from observation, i.e. behaviors that are hard-wired into our nervous system, and this is one of them. Suckling reflexes in ...
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9 votes
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Why do pigeons kill their chicks when touched by a human?

This is a story I have been told as well when I was a kid. Usually this is related to the foreign smell that the humans leave on the chick. However, this seems to be an urban legend, as birds have not ...
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  • 49.2k
9 votes
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Why does Hunger lead to the aggressive behavior?

Brain's main energy source is glucose. It uses about 20% of total glucose [1]. Brain hypoglycemia causes depressive-like behaviors in mice through adrenergic pathways [2]. When it comes to humans, ...
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  • 7,077
9 votes

Do species other than humans have distinct daily feeding patterns?

As already mentioned many animals have distinct feeding pattern due to resource limitation or availability. For example some fishes feed predominantly at high tide because that's the only time they ...
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9 votes
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Are there any animals that gradually approaches the predator to search for food?

The behaviour that you describe is common in most animal species, as part of the natural trade-off between access to food, minimizing risk, habituation and hunger. Animals usually choose to forage in ...
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9 votes
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Are there examples of animals that live in groups, where all have the same role?

Yes, there are many examples. Those species are said to be gregarious. See below for examples. Level of sociality When it comes to social behaviour, it is common to categorize species into one of four ...
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  • 67.6k
9 votes
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Why do bumble bees run repeatedly into walls?

Crall et al., 2015, studied bumblebee collision avoidance (note the senior authors are the same from your link). It seems that, contrary to popular belief and experience, bumblebees are actually quite ...
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  • 36.7k
9 votes

Why is wombat scat (feces) shaped like cubes?

On a more serious note than my comment, and as a supplement to theforestecologist's answer, it's worth pointing out that a cube with rounded corners and edges has larger surface area to volume ratio ...
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9 votes
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How do beavers learn how to build dams?

Question summary: is dam building learned or instinctive in beavers? A blog post from 2011 references an article in the Juneau Empire titled Running water is sound of spring for beavers. This article ...
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  • 7,729
8 votes

For how long can a raven stay airborne (a week or more)?

Can't be very sure about ravens but the maximum recorded flight duration is of Common Swift — 10 months. Alpine swifts also remain airborne for up to 6 months. Pigeons can fly up to 1800km in a long ...
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